Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada, has called for the Galway-Limerick rail route to be extended to Cork.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking following the publication of a report which showed a 22% increase in numbers using the Galway to Limerick line which she says strengthens the case for an extension to Cork.
“We have seen a 22% increase in numbers using the Galway to Limerick rail line and in a year that has been marred with cuts to services, public transport disputes and failure by the government to invest or even intervene, this is positive news,” she said.
“For families, students, tourists and pensioners traveling between Galway and Limerick, the viability of the link is undeniable and perhaps it’s time we started thinking about actually expanding our rail networks, rather than constantly chipping away at them.
“Expanding services not only to makes it easier for people to get around but with Brexit upon us it makes economic sense to increase rail freight traffic from the west through the southern ports with direct routes to Europe.
“This is a long term investment and one that will pay off for generations. If the Government is finding immediate financing difficult I would be happy to meet with the Minister to discuss possible avenues of EU funding for expansion.
‘Initiatives such as the European Regional Development Fund, for example, are designed to strengthen economic and social cohesion by correcting imbalances in funding and services between regions.
“It has among its key investment priorities, a shift towards a low carbon economy. Investing in rail would certainly satisfy this criteria.
“There are several options for funding that are at the very least worth exploring and I would urge the Government to step up to their responsibility and do so.”