A WORD IN YOUR EAR Deputy Éamon Ó Cuiv and his colleagues will be hoping their leader Micheál Martin will impose on his colleague Eamon Ryan for a clear commitment on the Western Rail Corridor.
The Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators from Connacht are seeking a meeting with their party leader, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, to insist on the delivery of some key infrastructural projects west of the Shannon.
Among the projects they are campaigning for include the extension of the Western Rail Corridor to Claremorris; the Galway ring road and the N26 from Swinford to Ballina road.
The meeting is being sought on the back of the publication of the updated National Development Plan last week which was scant on firm commitments to projects in Connacht.
One of their number, Galway-West TD Éamon Ó Cuív said they were looking for a ‘firm commitment’ for the delivery of the reopening of the Western Rail Corridor from Athenry to Tuam and onto Claremorris.
The Western Rail Corridor, has been reopened from Limerick to Athenry.
“We want a firm commitment to the Western Rail Corridor. Putting it into an all-island strategic review is only kicking the can down the road. The time to act is now,” Deputy Ó Cuív told The Mayo News.
He argued that ‘for once, money is not an issue’ due to the delay in getting other capital projects off the ground.
“For the country at large this will provide a national rail network and not one that is only Dublin centred. Virtually every line currently starts in Dublin. This would create a national rail network, you can go from Cork to Galway and onto Ballina.
“You could commute by rail from Castlebar to Galway in approximately 90 minutes, a little longer from Ballina. That’s equivalent to the time it takes to commute from Longford to Dublin and nobody sees those commutes as insurmountable.
“Whereas if I leave my home here at 8am for Galway, and I am a lot closer to Galway, it will take me an hour and a half with rush hour traffic.
“The big thing about train commutes is you can rely on them,” he added.
Deputy Ó Cuív said another matter up for discussion will be uncertainty over the delivery of road projects such as the Galway ring road and the upgrade of the N26 Swinford to Ballina road.
The NDP is providing for a two to one spend on public transport projects over road projects.
“We will be talking about this and about how Éamon Ryan has put the kibosh on roads such as the Galway bypass and the N26.
“Great credit is due to Michael Ring for getting the Westport to Castlebar road underway and the Scramogue section got in before any edict about roads too.
“Connacht is still a province very deficient in good road and rail infrastructure. We want a fair share for the over 500,000 people who live in Connacht,” he said.