February 16, 2022
Mac Manus criticises Government Exclusion of West of Ireland from EU Transport Funding

Mac Manus criticises Government Exclusion of West of Ireland from EU Transport Funding

Sinn Fein MEP Chris MacManus has slammed the Government for requesting that the EU Commission exclude the West of Ireland from the Core TEN-T Network, which provides for EU funding for transport projects. The Midlands Northwest MEP argues that EU funding will be crucial for developing the West of Ireland in future and has raised the matter with Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and the EU Commission.

MEP MacManus said:

“In December 2021 the EU Commission published its proposal for a revised TEN-T Regulation. In this proposal, the map of the TEN-T network in Ireland remains largely unchanged and the Core Network does not include the West of Ireland. This means that transport projects in the West will have limited access to EU funding, particularly in the short-term, meaning any new projects will come at a significant cost.”

“In a recent Parliamentary Question response to my colleague Mairead Farrell TD, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan stated that during the review of the TEN-T Regulation “the Commission was advised that, in order to ensure alignment between national and EU policy, our position on the TEN-T rail network will be informed by the results of the ongoing all-island Strategic Rail Review.” 

“This represents a change in the position of the Irish Government, as in August 2019 in a submission to the Commission, the previous Minister for Transport requested that the TEN-T Regulation be amended to include the Atlantic seaboard region on the Core Network. It is quite clear that since then there has been extensive communication between the Irish Government and the Commission on this issue.”

“In my view that this new position has undermined the potential for future development of transport projects in the West of Ireland such as the Western Rail Corridor, but also in relation to funding for roads, ports and airports. Potentially this will limit the future development of Ireland West and Donegal Airports, Killybegs and Galway Ports and improvements to roads such as the N17 to name but a few. Given that the TEN-T Network will be finalised soon it is quite worrying that the rail review process has only just begun.”

“I am extremely concerned that the Irish Government position on the TEN-T Network has been attached to the outcome of the rail review as I do not believe that such a review should suspend our proposals for improved access to EU funding not only to rail, but also to road, air and sea funding.”

“European funding is crucial in order to develop the Northern and Western Region, particularly given the downgrading of the region to being one ‘in transition’. In addition European funding is vital in order to make sustainable transport such as rail accessible to all and to help us to achieve our climate targets.”

“I have written to Eamon Ryan to question the Government’s change of position and to secure a commitment from him that the Government will insist on restoration of the West of Ireland to the TEN-T following the rail review. I have also written to the Commission and intend to fight for restoration of the West to the Network when the TEN-T proposal comes before the Parliament.”

“This change of position from the Government is outrageous and the West of Ireland deserves better. We need investment in vital infrastructure such as roads, rail, airports and ports and Sinn Fein will fight to ensure that EU funding is delivered to the West.” ENDS

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