Government investment for infrastructural projects in the West of Ireland is not a waste of money but an investment in job creation, transport, and economic growth.
This is the view of Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who was speaking in response to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s recently published Infrastructure and Capital Investment programme.
According to Sen Ó Clochartaigh, the Government is underfunding the west and shelving plans to develop infrastructure in Connacht/Ulster, all of which is harming the region.
“The Western Rail Corridor project has been shelved, with the next phase deferred for consideration until 2015,” he said. “Any hopes of having a decent, operative rail transport network in the West of Ireland have been crushed with this recent announcement.”
He also said that funding has been reduced for the A5 motorway through from Aughnacloy to Derry and Donegal.
“The Government is committed, as part of the St Andrew’s Agreement, to provide €400 million, instead this has been reduced to €50 million,” he said. “They have put a significant and important project for the development of the North West at serious risk. It is of the utmost importance that they reconsider and stand by their commitments.”
Sen Ó Clochartaigh said the completion of the Western Rail Corridor and construction of the A5 motorway “would lead to much needed job creation, whilst also making the West of Ireland a more attractive place to live, do business or invest”.
“It is crucial for the Government to take a regionalised approach when making decisions on our Infrastructure and Capital Investments,” he said. “We need investment in these infrastructural projects to combat the low economic activity, high levels of migration and stark unemployment figures endemic in the Western region. The potential and opportunity for economic growth in the West of Ireland must be harnessed.”