June 16, 2023
European Parliament Regional Development Committee Chair Visits Western Rail Corridor In Tuam

European Parliament Regional Development Committee Chair Visits Western Rail Corridor In Tuam

Chair of the European Parliament Regional Development Committee, Younous Omarjee MEP, recently visited the disused rail line in Tuam at the invitation of Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest. Omarjee was visiting on a fact-finding mission to examine how the EU can play a positive role in addressing regional imbalance in Ireland.

MacManus and Omarjee met with representatives from West on Track at the rail line, who have led the campaign to reopen the Western Rail Corridor.

Speaking afterwards, MEP Omarjee said:

“I am pleased to be in Ireland this week at the invitation of my colleague, Chris MacManus, in my capacity as Chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee. I am here to meet with regional stakeholders such as West on Track, examine the positive role EU funding has played in the Northern and Western region, and to discuss how the EU can contribute towards addressing the decline of the west and northwest of Ireland.

“Investing in infrastructure is key to the development of any region, and the Western Rail Corridor is a prime example of an investment that would bring enormous benefits to the local community here in Tuam, and across the West of Ireland. I was taken aback when I learned of how large parts of Ireland’s rail network have disappeared over the past 100 years, particularly in the north and west of the country. It is clear that improving connectivity and delivering high-quality public services will be key to the future of this region. 

MEP MacManus said:

“I am pleased to welcome Younous Omarjee to Ireland this week. He chairs a very powerful Committee in the European Parliament, which is especially important for us here in the west of Ireland given the need for European funding to address infrastructural deficits in our region.

“The benefits of the Western Rail Corridor, in terms of delivering economic development and reducing emissions by enabling more people to travel sustainably, are well known.
“A recent EU report found that the Northern and Western region is ranked 218th out of 234 European regions in terms of infrastructure. This places the region in the bottom 7 percent, alongside some of the poorest regions in the EU such as Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria. It is a stark statistic which demonstrates the extent of regional imbalance in Ireland today. 
“Investing in infrastructure such as the Western Rail Corridor is absolutely critical to the future of our region and will play a key role in attracting investment and high quality jobs.

“It has been widely reported that the all-island rail review recommends partial reopening of the line from Athenry to Claremorris. I would urge Minister Ryan to get on with the publication of this review and ensure that’s its findings are implemented in full in the near future. ENDS

See attached photograph at the disused rail line in Tuam of (L-R): Louis O’Hara (Galway East Sinn Féin Representative), Cllr Gerry Murray (West on Track), Younous Omarjee MEP, Colman Ó Raghallaigh (West on Track), Chris MacManus MEP, Frank Dawson (West on Track)

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