Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has reiterated his call for the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Eamon Ryan, to publish the rail review on the Western Rail Corridor from Athenry in County Galway to Claremorris in County Mayo as soon as possible.
“With so much attention being focused on the need to tackle climate change, the development of rail services in the west of Ireland provides a very significant opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint and to improve the public transport services in the west," Dep Ó Cuív said this week.
“Connecting the major towns in County Mayo to County Galway, via Claremorris and Athenry, would be a major step in the right direction, as would be the provision of much more frequent trains on the Limerick, Athlone, and Mayo lines into Galway.
“I recently asked a question of the Minister in relation to the development of commuter services into Waterford, Limerick, and Galway. The Minister did not directly answer the question and threw the responsibility, as did his predecessor, to the National Transport Authority. He did point to the study done by the NTA in relation to transport in Galway city. Unfortunately that report gave scant attention to the whole possibility of the development of rail services.
“I also asked a question in relation to the development of rail services throughout the country on existing Iarnród Éireann rail lines," the Galway West Fianna Fail TD continued. "In his reply, it became very obvious that in terms of inter-city services, once again the west of Ireland is to be totally ignored.
“The Minister informed me that his Department is about to launch a significant procurement process in relation to a review of high/higher-speed rail along the Belfast-Dublin-Cork/Limerick line, with no mention of the Dublin-Galway, Dublin-Mayo, or Dublin-Sligo line. Once again, the west of Ireland is being treated as a Cinderella province. This is totally unacceptable, and I will continue to press the Minister that fair play would be given to the west of Ireland in any proposed development of rail lines in Ireland.
“There is great talk and lip service to balanced regional development, but it would appear that this Minister for Transport is once again giving lip-service but not delivering,” Deputy Ó Cuív concluded.