Redeveloping the Galway-Mayo railway corridor stands to reap significant rewards for local communities, but trying to revive it as an actual working railway is only a "pie in the sky" dream.
This is the view of Labour's Galway East senator Lorraine Higgins, who said that despite assertions to the contrary, there is "little to no likelihood" of the Western Railway corridor being reinstated. She said EU funding will not be forthcoming as the area "does not have a critical mass of population", while Government funding is also unlikely because such a rail service "does not make economic sense".
"Reopening the rail corridor makes little sense considering the quality of our road network and the critical issue of demand," she said. "Would the taxpayer be happy to subsidise yet another underperforming route as they are with the Galway to Limerick line?"
Sen Higgins believes redeveloping the rail line into a greenway would prove successful with the public and be commercially viable.
"It taps into tourist demand, showcases our stunning landscape, and provides an essential stimulus for local communities through the use of long-standing but redeveloped infrastructure," she said. "This protects our environment and allows for the enjoyment of our region by those at home and from abroad for generations to come. Investing in a greenway route would be an investment in tourism."
Sen Higgins will be writing to all 39 members of the Galway County Council, requesting them to add to the council agenda, and support a motion for, funding to make the greenway proposal a reality.