Carthy secures European Parliament support for Western Rail Corridor
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed support from MEPs for his amendments inserting the Western Rail Corridor to a list of prioritised transport networks in the EU.
The European Parliament this week voted on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which grants EU funding for transport and energy projects. MEPs had the opportunity to define the areas that lie on the ‘core network’ and are eligible for transport funding.
Speaking following the vote, Carthy said:
‘I welcome that the report includes my amendments to add the Western Rail Corridor as a priority transport link. This is a critical opportunity to rectify decades of bias against the western region of Ireland.
“Historically Ireland’s core network has only included Dublin, Belfast and Cork. Yet, the support for my amendment places the onus on the Irish government to make transport infrastructure a reality in the West of Ireland. It demonstrates the failures of the Irish government to prioritise the region’s development.
“The amendments call specifically for a rail network connecting Derry, Sligo & Galway and for the inclusion of the Western Arc along the main North-Sea-Mediterranean Corridor.
“It is ironic that representatives from outside of Ireland can clearly see the damage caused by complete lack of rail infrastructure in the west of Ireland. Meanwhile, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments have failed to act to deliver these projects.
“Their failure to advance the Western Rail Corridor is impeding the task of delivering balanced economic development across our regions. It is an essential part of addressing years of neglect of the West.
“Following the inclusion of Western Rail Corridor in the CEF report, it will require Irish government action and investment to bring it to fruition. Sinn Féin will continue supporting local communities in campaigning for the necessary funding.”
EP Military agenda ‘regrettable’
Carthy said that he regretted that the Connecting Europe Facility report also promoted the use of EU transport funding for military purposes.
Speaking on this absurdity, Carthy said:
“EU transport and energy funding should be directed at the needs of citizens and communities. Regrettably, as with so many other areas of EU policy, the European Parliament has moved to centralise their aggressive military agenda into the transport programme. It is unacceptable that transport and energy projects would be used to address military requirements and to subsidise the mass weapons industry in Europe.
“I voted against the overall report, due to the threats posed to Ireland’s neutrality. This is a clear example of Sinn Féin’s critical engagement approach to the European Parliament – we work to ensure that Ireland’s interests are progressed, in this case via the inclusion of the Western Rail Corridor, but oppose attempts to undermine Irish neutrality.
“This, I believe, is the approach supported by the vast majority of Irish citizens.”