CRITIC Dara Calleary
Western Rail Corridor not derailed – West-on-Track
The Western Rail Corridor (WRC) has not been derailed according to West-on-Track. The community-based lobby group believes that the government is still supportive of the project.
Last week, the government announced that the WRC was one of the major capital projects that will be deferred indefinitely. The only part of the project which will continue is the construction of stations at Oranmore and Crusheen on the Ennis to Athenry line, which opened last year.
The second phase of the project from Athenry to Tuam, and the third phase to Claremorris which was due to open in 2014, have all been deferred as part of the Capital Investment Programme from 2012 to 2016.
Colman Ó Rallaghaigh, spokesperson for West-on-Track, told The Mayo News that he believes the government made a mistake by deferring the project but believes it will go ahead when the economy recovers.
“Everyone in the west of Ireland is disappointed when you consider the sum of money required is a tiny fraction of what was spent on planning on the Metro North. They spent €200 million on that planning, which would have completed the WRC twice over. However, I believe there is still sufficient support within the government, and I believe if the economic situation improves I’d expect it to go ahead within the lifetime of this government,” he said.
Stressing that the WRC is an essential part of the infrastructure needed to develop the west of Ireland, Mr Ó Rallaghaigh said he believes that Enda Kenny is committed to the project and will not use the economy as an excuse to bury it.
Despite West-on-Track’s positive outlook for the project, Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary was not afraid to stick his boot into the government, claiming that Fine Gael had broken election promises.
“Before the General Election there were numerous promises made by the now government parties. They are now saying it will be reviewed in 2015, but that’s just giving people [false] hope … even if it is reviewed then, it will be years before anything gets going on the ground. They were well briefed before the election, they had all the figures from the IMF and EU, but these promises were still made,” he said.
Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony said he was disappointed with the recent decision but would continue to campaign for its opening.
“It is disappointing that it has had to be deferred, but we’re living in extremely difficult economic times and the Government has had to make tough decisions. It doesn’t mean that this is the end for the Western Rail Corridor, and I assure those behind the project that they will continue to have my support,” he said.