The Mayo Chambers are “astonished” by the recommendations contained in the An Bord Snip Nua report in relation to the non-completion of the Western Rail Corridor and the axing of the Manulla-Ballina railway.
The chambers believe “there is little doubt that the completion of the Western Rail Corridor will provide the west of Ireland with significantly enhanced capability to attract job-creating industry, while also enabling rail travel between almost every town and city in the region, thus boosting inbound tourism, both from within Ireland and from overseas visitors.”
The West on Track community campaign has also spoken out about the recent report. “It is disappointing but not surprising that Mr McCarthy chose to go outside of his remit in order to recommend that the Western Rail Corridor should not proceed.”
The statement which the group issued added: “To date the project continues to represent the best value for money, mile for mile, in the whole Transport 21 envelope. €100 million remains to be invested in re-opening the next phases of Western Rail Corridor under Transport 21 to Tuam and Claremorris, delivering a total of over 70 miles of national primary infrastructure but representing an entire spend of less than one per cent of the entire Public Transport Programme.
“The Western Rail Corridor has already created 400 jobs in the construction phase and will deliver many thousands of jobs in private sector companies, once operational. This is exactly the type of public transport which must be prioritised during times of economic downturn, linking as it does the gateway cities of Limerick and Galway, with the hub towns of Tuam, Ballina, and Castlebar, together with Claremorris and Westport.
“Mr McCarthy's other bizarre suggestion of axing the railway from Manulla to Ballina ignores the fact that this section of line forms part of the largest container rail freight route in Ireland, used heavily by export manufacturing companies, carrying thousands of containers annually for export via Waterford port,” the statement concluded.