An account of a recent meeting from Western Inter-County Railway Committee meeting this week.
At a meeting of the Western Inter-County Railway Committee held in Claremorris this week there was unanimous cross-party welcome for the confirmation by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport are at an advanced stage in developing their approach in progressing the commitment to review the re-introduction of rail services between Galway and Mayo via Tuam. The Committee is a joint committee of five local authorities in the West of Ireland committed to the establishment of a rail service between Limerick and Sligo via Clare, Galway and Mayo and members pledged their full support to the prospect of renewed rail connectivity between the South/Mid-West/West and North Western regions.
Speaking after the meeting Chairman Cllr. Michael Connolly said, “This is one of these unique and too-rare occasions when all political parties are united in a common objective and I am very pleased to confirm that the Committee has fully endorsed the Taoiseach’s view that renewal of this missing link in the national railway network could play an important role in the Atlantic Economic Corridor.
County and regional plans as well as the National Development Plan and the Programme for Government have collectively supported the prospect of restoring train services on the western rail corridor and this is a very welcome expression of support from the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach’s view that a re-instatement of the missing rail link between Galway and Mayo could increase passenger, tourist and commercial use is echoed by the Atlantic Economic Corridor Group which represents 2725 businesses employing 80,000 people between Kerry and Donegal.”
Cllr. Connolly added,” The economic case is supported by facts such as Bord Failte analysis which shows that in 2017 Galway had 1.673 million overseas visitors spending €589m compared to Mayo with 324,000 spending €78m. A modern and efficient rail service will tap into that huge Galway resource to the benefit of Westport/Ballina and tourism in Mayo generally while providing much improved public transport between the natural hinterlands of Mayo and Galway, and provide vital links to the new EU Tier1 Port of Shannon Foynes”.
Commenting on the outstanding performance of Galway- Limerick train services, announced recently by the Chief Executive of Iarnrod Eireann, Cllr Connolly said that 352,000 passengers using the route in 2017 represented almost double the numbers projected in the business case prepared by Iarnrod Eireann and the fact is that the railway company is having difficulty catering for current demand and have increased the size of some peak time trains.
The Committee also called on the Government to honour its commitment to amend maps previously submitted to the EU to include the West and North-West, and permit access for those regions to infrastructure co-funding from the multi-billion EU TenT Core Programme.
Credit: West on Track