Carthy calls for inclusion of Western Rail Corridor in report on EU transport funding
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has submitted amendments to the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility budget for 2021-2027 calling for EU transport funding for the Western Rail corridor.
Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee, expressed his dismay that the current Irish government has not yet sought to review its TEN-T priorities despite a commitment to do so in the 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government.
Speaking following submission of his proposals to the report, MEP Carthy said:
“Ireland’s Western Arc is a cross-border network that has been denied EU transport funding, and denied access to public transport. It is the most remote region in Ireland on the most Western periphery of the EU. Successive Irish governments have failed the West again and again, stripping their resources and ignoring their demands for the re-instalment of the Western Rail corridor.
“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar talks out of both sides of his mouth – he now claims to be open to the idea of the Western Rail Corridor. However, the Irish government has not once sought EU transport funding for the Western Rail Corridor. Before the summer, I received a letter from the European Commission confirming that the Irish government has not applied for a review, in any shape or form, of Ireland’s TEN-T CORE network. A response from Minister Ross to my colleague, Martin Kenny TD, confirms that this is still the case.
“I have submitted amendments to the Connecting Europe Facility budget for 2021-2027 to include the Western Rail corridor as a priority rail link. I have further called for the Western Arc of Ireland, which stretches from Derry to Cork to be included as part of the CORE network.
“The West and border regions of the island of Ireland will suffer most as a result of Brexit. Coupled with the ongoing challenges of providing employment opportunities for our young people in rural communities it is clear that ambitious and imaginative solutions are required to prevent the further distancing of these regions.
“The Western Rail corridor will link the international airport of Ireland West Airport Knock, the Shannon Foynes port, and the major centres on the West, connecting people to regional hubs. At a time of housing crisis, the transport link would allow people to gain employment while still being able to settle and live in rural communities.
“The campaign for the re-operation of the Western Rail corridor has received over 100,000 signatures by citizens, with support from regional authorities and community organisations. The EU can no longer ignore, in the context of Brexit, the regressive and discriminatory policies of the Irish government towards the West of Ireland.
“I, and my Sinn Fein colleagues in the European Parliament, the Dáil and the affected council areas will continue to demand for TEN-T funding to reach rural Ireland and in particular for the Western Rail Corridor to be developed.”