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North West Rail lobby gathering head of steam - Doherty

21 October, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty says that the lobby to extend rail links to the north west of Ireland is now 'gathering a head of steam' after representatives from all main parties in the region attended a forum in support of the campaign in Donegal on Thursday last.

The local MP who has been a long term campaigner for the extension of rail links to the North West, having first published an 8 page campaigning document on the issue almost a decade ago, said,

"I see the convening of this forum as a very significant step. That elected representatives from all the main parties across Strabane, Donegal, Derry, Fermanagh, Cavan, Sligo, and Monaghan have come together and united in support of this campaign means that a very powerful lobby force is now in place to take this issue forward.

"The establishment of an all party all-Ireland approach is crucial to making progress on this issue and this unity of purpose was evident at last Thursday's event at which it was unanimously agreed to set up a fund to finance the carrying out of a feasibility study into the extension of rail to the north west part of Ireland-the only region of Ireland without a rail network.

"The North West rail lobby is now gathering a head of steam and with this issue now firmly on the political agenda, lobbying on the issue will be intensify in the time ahead.

Also speaking having attended the Forum, the Sinn Fein Chairperson of Strabane District Council Cllr Jarlath Mc Nulty signalled his full support for the campaign.

He said:

"I believe that the extension of rail links to the north west region of Ireland to be not only an environmental imperative but also as an essential building block in ensuring balanced regional development in terms of infrastructure and economic development.

"I have requested that a presentation is now made to Strabane District Council outlining the merits of the case at the earliest possible date and I am confident that, like last week's Forum" that we will see Council giving its unanimous backing to the campaign." ENDS

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