The hopes of having Mayo linked up to the rest of the Western Rail Corridor in the near future were dealt a severe blow yesterday when the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published the Government’s planned Infrastructure and Capital Investment programme from 2012 to 2016. Among the items mentioned in the publication was the Western Rail Corridor; the report states that the next phase of the corridor has been deferred for consideration in 2015 in advance of the next public capital programme.
Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary spoke to the Mayo Advertiser and hit out at the decision of the Government to not go ahead with the project in yesterday’s programme, citing promises made by the Government parties before the election. “It’s really disappointing news, before the General Election there were numerous promises made by the now Government parties,” he said. “They are saying that it will be reviewed in 2015, but that’s just giving people false hope because even if it’s reviewed then, it will be years before anything gets going on the ground.” Dep Calleary also hit out at the Government, saying they knew these projects were unaffordable. “They were well briefed before the election and had all the figures from the IMF and EU but these promises were still made. The people in Claremorris are going to be hit by this again now, it’s another blow to the south Mayo area.”
The Ballina-based TD said he hoped the project would not end up dying, because it is a very worthwhile initiative. “The project started by thinking outside the box and it’s that sort of thinking that will have to be done again to keep it alive.”
Minister of State in the Department of Transport, with responsibility for Sport Michael Ring told the Mayo Advertiser that he was disappointed that the scheme had to be deferred until 2015, but there were hard decisions that had to be made across the whole country by the Government. “We had to make major decisions today for the whole country, the plain simple fact is that we don’t have the money and there is no point in fooling the people and pretending that we do have it. The Government has to prioritise things like health, education, and social welfare to protect and ensure the future of the people. I’m sick to death of hypocrisy from Fianna Fáil on a number of issues like this, they had lots of grand plans and schemes but these schemes all take a lot of money which we don’t have.”
Meanwhile there was good news for road users in Mayo this week with the news that the 13.6km Ballaghaderreen bypass will go ahead in 2012. This bypass will significantly improve the travelling time for motorists and goods hauliers travelling to the east of the country.
Minister of State Ring said that there was other good news announced in the programme for sporting groups in the country. “We did announce a number of good schemes for people today, such as the first small sports capital funding since 2008,” he said. “There will be €30 million available to clubs and organisations across the country, mainly small groups, to enhance and make their facilities better, which will be a huge benefit to a large number of people throughout the country.”