Fine Gael neglect for the West exposed once again as EU confirms no request has been made to amend transport map – Carthy
Despite a commitment in the programme for government that a review of the EU TEN-T CORE map would be sought to secure funding for transport projects in the West and North West, including the Western Rail Corridor, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has received conformation in the European Commission that such a request has still not been made.
Carthy today released a letter he received from the Director of Mobility & Transport in the European Commission stating categorically that the Irish government has never applied for a review of the Irish TEN-T map, or for EU funding towards the reinstatement of the Western Rail Corridor.
Matt Carthy said:
“The Programme for Government stated that a request to review the TEN-T map, which would allow for funding to be secured for vital infrastructure projects such as the Western Rail Corridor, within three months of the formation of the government. Last year, I revealed that the matter had never been raised at EU level. This was followed by a further promise that such a review would be submitted ‘soon’.
“My recent contact with the European Commission reveals that the Irish government has still not applied ‘or sent any contribution’ on the subject to the EU.
“The government, that is Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fáil who keep them in power, have now serious questions to answer.
“They have continuously delayed and frustrated any opportunity for this project to receive vital EU transport funding, most recently in their behind-closed-doors removal of the Western Rail Corridor’s inclusion within the Connecting Europe Facility. Last December, the European Parliament supported my amendments to recognise the Western Rail Corridor as a priority link within the Connecting Europe Facility fund but the Irish government had it removed from the list during secret trilogue negotiations.
“The correspondence from the European Commission is as blunt as the EU gets. It is clear that the failure to provide adequate transport infrastructure in the west and north west is down squarely to failures of successive Irish governments.
“The European Commission will carry out an early review of the TEN-T map, including an open public consultation from the end of April for a period of 12 weeks. It is vital that every local and regional authority, and community organisations, in the West and North West of Ireland engage in this process on EU transport funding. It is clear that we cannot depend on the government to do so.
“For our part, we in Sinn Féin, will not let this matter drop. Without proper transport infrastructure, we have no hope of securing employment and investment in this region. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Independents that support them must pay an electoral price for this blatant neglect.”