Carthy seeks European Parliament support for Western Rail Corridor
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has confirmed that he believes he will secure support from MEPs for his amendments seeking to insert the Western Rail Corridor to a list of prioritised transport networks in the EU.
The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility is under negotiation for the 2021-2027 funding period. As part of this revision, MEPs have the opportunity to define areas that lie on the “core network” and are eligible for transport funding. In Ireland this core network has historically only included Dublin, Belfast and Cork. Speaking ahead of the crucial vote next week, Carthy said:
“Next week, MEPs in the Transport Committee will be voting on a list of transport networks to be eligible for €42bn. This is a critical opportunity to rectify decades of bias against the western region of Ireland.
“I am seeking support to insert the Western Rail Corridor into the list of priority projects despite the failure of subsequent Irish governments to champion this essential infrastructure.
“My 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. I am confident that we can secure committee support for these proposals.
“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 considering that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments have failed to act to deliver these projects.
“In 2016, the Programme for Partnership Government contained a commitment to apply for EU transport funding for the Western Rail Corridor within 6 months. However, the European Commission have confirmed to me that Irish government has not sought a review of Ireland’s core network.
“The 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.
“Therefore I will continue to press MEPs to support my amendments and I am confident that the Western Rail Corridor will be included as a priority project in the European Parliament report. Following that, it will require Irish government action and investment to bring it to fruition. Sinn Féin will supporting local communities in campaigning for such a commitment.”
The vote will take place in the European Parliament’s Transport Committee on 22 November.