Minister must act and invest as called for in All Island Strategic Rail Review – MacManus
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North-West, Chris MacManus, has called on the Minister for Transport to invest in rail, after the findings of the All-Island Rail Review.
Speaking from Sligo, MacManus said:
“There are a number of recommendations in the All-Island Strategic Rail Review which I welcome. Among them is the restoration of part of the Western Rail Corridor, connecting Athenry and Claremorris.
“I also welcome recommendations that there should be hourly train service between major cities and at least one train every two hours between other urban centres. If we are serious about tackling carbon emissions and getting people out of their cars, we need a reliable, affordable and fit for purpose public transport system, and rail will need to make up a fundamental part of this. It is my view that our Green Party Minister for Transport must now act and invest to make such a service a reality.
“What I find concerning is the lack of commitment to invest north of Claremorris, connecting the West and North-West. Remember, this region is 218th out of 234 EU Regions in terms of infrastructure. That’s the bottom 7%. Should the government fail to properly connect Connacht, it would be a missed opportunity to comprehensively address regional imbalance.”
“Also let’s be very clear. This rail review must only be a starting point for Donegal, a county that has been crying out for rail connectivity. A cursory glance at the proposed rail map in the review shows glaring infrastructural inadequacies. To go from Ballina to Sligo… or from Sligo to Letterkenny a passenger would have to go via Mullingar and Portadown traversing about ten counties. We need a real all-Ireland rail network fit for all our citizens, in all thirty-two counties.”
MacManus went on to accuse successive governments of neglecting the West and North-West
“The West and North-West have suffered due to decades of neglects by successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments. Regional imbalance needs to be addressed if we are to develop sustainably and fairly across our island.
“This neglect must end. The people of West and North-West deserve better, and the government must now act and invest to help the region develop sustainably. ENDS