Political will at government level is the only thing required to re-open the Western Rail Corridor according to Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus.
In a public meeting, conducted online and attended by well over 100 people, that was chaired by Mr MacManus and addressed by Mayo Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh TD, Paul Deering, editor of The Sligo Champion and Conor Feighan of the European Rail Freight Association it was heard that no more reports or analysis was needed on the issue.
Following the meeting, MEP MacManus said: “It was great to see a large turnout at this public meeting and to see such interest and passion in the room for the reopening of the Western Rail Corridor. The meeting was very constructive, it was very useful to hear people’s feedback on this issue and we’ll certainly be taking on board the various points made throughout.”
“I think it’s clear from this meeting that there is a huge demand in the West and Northwest for the Western Rail Corridor to be reopened without delay. We know from Dr John Bradley’s report that this is achievable and can happen in a short period of time. All that’s missing is the political will to make that decision.”
The Midlands Northwest MEP called for action to deliver the project.
“While we hope that the all-island rail review recommends its reopening and is not another botched report like EY, it is our firm view that the justification already exists for the reopening of the line and that no more reports or analysis is needed,” he said.
“That justification was outlined clearly at this meeting, whether it’s in terms of addressing regional imbalance, bringing economic development to the West, increasing our freight potential or enabling more people to commute sustainably, there are a huge number of reasons why this project must go ahead.
“It was also emphasised by several speakers that it is not a binary choice between a reopened railway line and a greenway, and both projects should be developed alongside each other.
“There are many examples of greenways running alongside railway lines in this country and abroad and we firmly believe that there is no reason why that could not happen in the case of the Western Rail Corridor.”