Munnelly defends Varadkar on Western Rail Corridor

Fine Gael Cllr Jarlath Munnelly

Fine Gael Cllr Jarlath Munnelly

Fine Gael councillor Jarlath Munnelly hit back at those who are attacking An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in relation to the Western Rail Corridor.

The Killala based councillor said: “The inclusion of capital infrastructure projects on the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Network (Ten-T ) had no impact on whether they were funded by the Government at the time.

“If successful, Ireland still would have been required to cover the vast majority of the cost of the projects, as the EU funding would have only covered a minority element.

“Thanks to the crippling recession experienced by this country, we simply did not have the resources at that stage to commit to that level of investment. We were emerging from the worst economic crash in our history and Fine Gael was attempting to stabilise the ship, balance the books, and get the economy growing again.”

Cllr Munnelly addressed the accusations that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his government were ignoring the west, saying the facts showed otherwise. “In spite of the very limited resources at the disposal of the Fine Gael/Labour government at the time, the then minister for transport, Leo Varadkar initiated the Gort to Tuam motorway, the biggest ever road project in the west.

“This is just one part of the Atlantic Road Corridor proposed in the Government’s national development plan, Project Ireland 2040, further aspects of which are included in the National Development Plan, including further sections of the N17.”

Cllr Munnelly added that much of the hysteria in recent days was aimed at projects that were included in Project Ireland, the National Development Plan, projects to which the government has committed, that will happen: “In fact, there is much in Project Ireland, the National Development Plan, for Mayo. Just last week, contracts were signed for in excess of €19 million for new sewerage works in the towns of Charlestown, Foxford, and Killala.

"Projects that were ignored for a very long time, that are happening now under a Fine Gael led Government, that clearly prioritise investment in the west. Also, there is a clear commitment to reviewing the case for the Western Rail Corridor; if the case can be made that project will be advanced too.”

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