The West of Ireland must be prioritised for future transport spending, Galway East Sinn Fein’s Louis O’Hara has said.
His comments came following Minister Eamon Ryan’s announcement earlier this week of €91.5 million in funding to cut the Dublin-Cork rail journey by between 8 and 10 minutes.
O’Hara said that while any investment in public transport is welcome, Minister Eamon Ryan’s announcement will ‘undoubtedly be frustrating’ for the majority of people in the West of Ireland who have ‘little or no access’ to public transport.
“Earlier this year Bus Eireann’s Galway-Dublin 20-X20 service was ended and the Government still refuses to give a firm commitment on the reopening of the Western Rail Corridor,” said Mr O’Hara.
“In addition the Connecting Ireland proposals to increase connectivity for people living outside of major cities and towns fall far short of what is needed.”
He said that it is ‘very positive’ to see investment in public transport, but “if this multi-million euro spending on the Dublin to Cork rail line can be justified then so can spending on transport services in the West.
“People in the West deserve access to high quality public services such as public transport as much as people in other parts of the country, especially at a time when we are being asked to reduce our emissions.
“We shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens when it comes to public services and investment.”
“Going forward transport spending must be directed at the region that needs it most – the West of Ireland.”