“Failure To Commit To Western Rail Corridor In Revised NDP A Missed Opportunity” – MacManus
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has described the Government’s failure to commit to reopening the Western Rail Corridor in the revised National Development Plan announced today (Monday) as “a missed opportunity for the West”. The Midlands Northwest MEP claims that the announcement demonstrates that this Government has no plan or ambition to develop the west of Ireland.
“This is a real own-goal from the government. The west of Ireland is a region in decline. That has been confirmed by the EU’s downgrading of the region to being one ‘in transition’. In order to drive regional development there is a critical need for significant State and EU investment in infrastructure such as the Western Rail Corridor.
“Therefore the Government’s failure to commit to reopening the rail line in the revised National Development Plan is a huge missed opportunity for the West. Although the plan commits to €35 billion spending on transport over the next ten years, it appears that very little of that funding will come to the Western region.”
“The failure to commit to this vital piece of infrastructure does not inspire confidence that the Government is committed to tackling regional imbalance and improving the quality of life for those who live here. The reality is that communities in the west will not have a sustainable future in terms of employment unless the Government begins to prioritise investment in our region.”
“The benefits of reopening the rail line are clearly set out in Dr John Bradley’s report published earlier this year, which found that there is a ‘strong business case’ for the reopening of the line.”
“The decision is also deeply disappointing from a climate point of view. At a time when we are being asked to reduce our emissions and use public transport, the reopening of the rail line makes perfect sense and should be a priority for Government.”
“It is obvious that the all-island rail review is being used as an excuse to kick the can down the road and delay making a decision on the future of the rail line. Today’s announcement demonstrates clearly that this Government has no plan or ambition to develop the west of Ireland.” ENDS