Western Rail Corridor

• There is a longstanding proposal to re-open the former rail line connecting Limerick, Galway and Sligo (The Western Rail Corridor – WRC). The Celtic Tiger-era government was supportive, and included the proposal in the 2007-13 National Development Plan.

• Phase 1 of the route (Ennis-Athenry) reopened in 2010, providing a Limerick- Galway rail link for the first time in 30yrs. After a slow initial start, since 2015 passenger numbers on the line have exceeded projections

• Reopening the rest of the line has not progressed since, however, and is not included in the current 2040 National Development Plan. The proposal has also been mired in some controversy – with greenway advocates assertively pursuing sole use of the former trackbed. A much-ridiculed 2021 EY report commissioned by the government dismissed the viability of reopening the rest of the route.

• The WRC is an essential proposal for improving connectivity and regional balance across the western seaboard of the island. It seems unlikely that the Irish Gov will meet its PI2040 population and economic growth ambitions for beyond Dublin – without creating infrastructure such as the WRC to make the West a more viable & attractive location.

• The Western Rail Corridor project must be completed all the way to Collooney – enabling rail to provide connectivity between the three major settlements on the western seaboard (Limerick, Galway, Sligo).

• The corridor should then continue northwards from Collooney through County Donegal to connect with a reopened Letterkenny-Derry line.

• That would create a loop of rail around the island – with huge benefits for connectivity, economic development and tourism.