A radical overhaul of the rail network in Ireland, including high speed rail, is needed for the west of Ireland to prosper according to Anne Rabbitte.
The Fianna Fáil TD said that a sustained multi-year investment programme is needed to overhaul the rail network, suggesting that Ireland should look to the European Investment Bank for funding.
She suggested that a high speed point to point service would enable economic mobility by allowing people to work farther afield and take advantage of opportunities away from home.
“Why does it take two and a half hours to travel from Galway to Dublin on the train when there’s technology that could shorten it to an hour?”
“It would then be a reasonable proposition that someone could live in Galway and work in Dublin. Connectivity is key.”
Beyond that Deputy Rabbitte said that urban areas in the northwest such Castlebar, Sligo, and Roscommon town should be made into regional transport hubs hubs to spread these advantages to more rural areas.
Modernising the rail network is also an environmental issue, providing an opportunity to cut down on the carbon emissions from our trains Anne Rabbitte said, arguing that a feasibility study should be carried out to better target investment.
“There is a disproportionate focus on Dublin and it’s going to damage the country’s competitiveness,” she said “No new rail carriages have been bought since 2016. This is while trains are full to dangerous levels.”
“We need to make sure the country is positioning itself such that we can demonstrate how we’ve continued to modernise and adapt to the needs of both people and business.”
“This would attract jobs and, hopefully, see a fairer approach to the country’s transportation networks”.