The Transport Minister says he wants to see older rail lines in the west and south return to their original use, not turned into greenways.
Eamon Ryan says he wants to see a revived 'Western Atlantic Rail Corridor', spanning from Ballina in Mayo to Rosslare in Wexford.
Are we moving away from greenways and back to rail? 🚂
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he wants to see a revived Western Atlantic Rail Corridor, spanning from #Ballina to #Rosslare. pic.twitter.com/iHeAphocM9
— Aoife Kearns (@kearns_aoife) February 1, 2023
There had been initial plans for the Claremorris to Athenry, and Waterford to Wexford lines to be turned into greenways.
Minister Ryan says the outcome of a strategic rail review will determine the future of these former tracks:
"The likes of the Claremorris to Athenry railway, and are also, you'd look for Wexford to Waterford.
"The answer will come from the strategic rail review, which is due subject to politics in the north being released in the coming weeks.
"My vision and my view of where we're going to go is a revival of rail in our country, the revival of rail freight, and a revival of what I might call the Western Atlantic Rail Corridor.
Minister Ryan continued by saying reviving existing lines for the original purpose makes 'strategic and economic sense'.
"Think that Atlantic rail corridor running from Rosslare to Ballina is what could transform the country.
"Think big and long term, and strategically, we have these deep water ports with new energy sources coming in.
"We have an existing rail infrastructure. We don't have to build new [ones]. Why wouldn't we use that and turn it into a spine for economic development for the west and south?"
The Government has plans to reduce the number of car journeys and increase the use of public transport, however many have pointed to the lack of availability of public transport in some areas.