Strong Government support for the further development of the Western Rail Corridor

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The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has expressed his strong support for the further development of the Western Rail Corridor.

Speaking yesterday in Cork during the launch of the revised NDP, Mr. Martin confirmed that the Government would “enthusiastically” support expenditure for the Western Rail Corridor going forward. “I think you can be assured the Minister for Public Expenditure will support the Western Rail Corridor very enthusiastically,” said the Taoiseach.

Transport Minister Eamonn Ryan outlined what he described as the “transformation of the west of Ireland”, with the development of the underutilised Western Rail Corridor.

He said he envisaged a rail network “going all the way from the quays in Waterford to Limerick Junction with access as far as Ballina.”

He also cited the former Athenry to Claremorris line as an example of a link up which he said would be much more than just a section of railway line for commuters.

He said an inland rail freight port in a place like Limerick junction would form part of what he described as a low carbon future.

Welcoming the comments of the Taoiseach and Minister, a West on Track spokesman said it was important that both leaders had been unequivocal in clarifying the situation during their press conference as the initial NDP text had led many people to believe that the rail link was being sidelined. “Further clarification now indicates that the project will proceed and that the Strategic Rail Review is being asked to recommend how best this should happen. The Minister for Transport has previously said that the review, to be conducted by Arup, will be published in early summer of next year.”

“There is strong cross-party political support across the entire western region for the restoration of this key piece of infrastructure as part of the Atlantic Economic Corridor.  But we cannot continue to exist on fine words – we now need to see delivery. In particular, we are calling on the Taoiseach and Minister Ryan to ensure that the Arup report is delivered on time next year so that work can get under way without further delay on delivering this badly-needed infrastructure for the west,” said the West on Track spokesman.