A compromise route for the rail corridor

 

Sir, – The long-delayed review of the western rail corridor (Home News, August 17th) is finally going to happen, despite the fact that economically and demographically there is an extremely fragile case to justify the railway re-opening.

Galway East independent TD Seán Canney claims the chairman of the Atlantic Economic Corridor taskforce sees the rail project as a “no-brainer”. The chairman of that taskforce is Minister for Regional Economic Development, Michael Ring.

Mr Ring knows about the “no-brainer” economics and tourism miracle that greenways on closed railways have bought to west Mayo and in more recent years to Waterford.

The Atlantic Economic Corridor taskforce should be looking at ways to enhance tourism opportunities; Tourism creates jobs. Twenty thousand people have signed the “Western Rail Trail” petition for the “no-brainer” of a greenway on the closed railway from Athenry to Sligo. They need to be listened to.

It is highly unlikely the WRC review is going to recommend anything other than a long-term prognosis that the railway might be opened in 10, 15 or even 30 years’ time.

Meanwhile, the route can be protected in public ownership by a greenway; an option Irish Rail has accepted on other closed railway routes, on condition that if a railway is required in future it will take precedence on the route.

The greenway campaign has no problem with this idea. Greenway now, railway when and if we can afford it. Sounds like a “no-brainer” for the chairman of the Atlantic Economic Corridor taskforce to take on board and recommend to An Taoiseach. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN QUINN,

Western Rail Trail Campaign

Enniscrone, Sligo.