Updated: 09/04/18 : 06:32:19Printable Version
A spokesman for the Western Rail Trail Campaign – an alliance of community-based campaign groups in Galway Mayo and Sligo campaigning to preserve the alignment of the closed rail line from Athenry to Collooney (Sligo)
by utilising the route for tourism and leisure as a greenway until such time as a railway may be possible, has commented on publication of information that the Western Rail Corridor was excluded from European TEN-T funding.
“The news revealed this week that the so called Western Rail Corridor was excluded from the application to be included in the European TEN-T Transport infrastructure plans, back in 2011, is really old news” said Brendan Quinn of the campaign.
"Mr Varadkar in an email sent to our campaign in 2013 stated the following:
“the Government has no plans to extend the western rail corridor nor any other heavy rail line in the state”. As Minister of Transport he had had effectively drawn a line under the campaign to build a railway line from Limerick to Sligo, stating in that same email “We do not have the funds [and] our priority is to keep the existing lines open.”
Referring to alternative uses for the route, Mr Varadkar also said in the same email in 2013: “With regard to greenways, my Department and its agencies are very supportive of greenways.”
In December 2014 Paschal Donohoe his immediate successor in an email to Mr. Quinn of the Western Rail Trail “I would like to re-confirm my Department's position that there are currently no plans to extend the Western Railway Corridor.”
“It really is old news to refer to decisions made over 7 years ago about the so called Western Rail Corridor. The real pity is that neither Mr Varadkar nor Mr Donohoe didn’t act on their comments whilst in the Department of Transport; they could have put a greenway in place on the closed railway route until such time as a railway might become possible, five or six years ago. Instead we are still debating about a closed railway which has no hope of funding, it is ridiculous” said the spokesperson.
“An on-line petition asking for a greenway on the route has now hit over 13,000 signatures; the greenway has massive popular support in the west” said the spokesperson. See link below.
“We cannot understand why some politicians in the west feeling disgruntled about the so called Western Rail Corridor, when there appears to be a groundswell of support for a greenway along the route of the closed railway.”
The spokesperson continued, ‘Public opinion clearly favours a greenway and this cannot be ignored anymore. The reconfirmation that the closed railway is never going to be funded by European TEN-T funding is really immaterial but it reinforces the arguments in favour of a greenway on the route until such time as a railway might be possible. Politicians need to grasp the reality of the situation instead of moaning about decisions that cannot be changed”
Link: Sligo Today 17/3/2018