West on Track Welcomes inclusion of Mayo-Galway rail link in Capital Programme

February 19, 2018

West on Track welcomes the inclusion by the Government in the Capital Plan announced Phases 2 and 3 of the Western Rail Corridor linking Galway and Mayo, and its specific acknowledgement that the railway could play an important role in the Atlantic Economic Corridor and could increase passenger, tourist and commercial use.

We are confident that the independent review of the potential of the railway in the context of the Atlantic Economic Corridor will confirm the major contribution that the railway can make in terms of regional connectivity, linking Galway city with its natural hinterland in line with the National Planning Framework, as well as opening up the southern ports directly to freight traffic from the west, an essential requirement in the context of Brexit.

Linking Westport, Ballina, Castlebar, Claremorris and Tuam by rail to Galway would have an enormous impact. It would also enable direct rail travel to and from Limerick and Cork offering tourists proper access to the west and north-west for the first time.

Text in Capital Programme: ‘The Western Rail Corridor Phase 2 from Athenry to Tuam and Phase 3 to Claremorris could play an important part in the Atlantic Economic Corridor. The extension of the WRC could increase passenger, tourist and commercial use. In line with the Programme for Government an independent review will be undertaken immediately. If the findings are approved by Government the project will be prioritised during this plan.’

ENDS

Kiltimagh Closures Suggest Loss of Banks Is A Killer Blow – Feb 2018

February 13, 2018

Towns in east and south Mayo are reporting mixed fortunes, with new businesses opening in Claremorris and Swinford, but with three closing in Kiltimagh.

The Paper Shop, which was in the centre of the town, shut its doors after years of serving the community, while Eden Flowers and Byrne’s Butchers also closed recently. The latter business shut its doors after the death of owner, Paddy Byrne.

Carroll’s Supermarket is the only grocery store left on Kiltimagh’s Main Street, with the Village News, Mulherin’s, and Gallagher’s, beside the local church all closed for a number of years. Supervalu is at the rear of the town.

But it’s a different tale in nearby Swinford, where Cllr Michael Smyth can list a plethora of new businesses, including a kitchen company, gym, accountants’ firm, and agricultural consultant.

“We’ve been lucky, because we have kept our banks. Kiltimagh and Charlestown have lost theirs and it has has an impact.” Claremorris pharmacist and chamber of commerce member, Jimmy Flynn, says the south Mayo town has not been as badly affected as others in the region.

“While we are still in the so-called storm, it has abated. At Christmas, people were more focused on leaving their money in the local town,” he said.

A number of businesses opened in Claremorris, before Christmas and another two are due to open shortly, with the town’s central location attracting people to live in the area to commute to jobs in Galway, Sligo, Castlebar, and Westport. Claremorris Chamber of Commerce is lobbying hard to have the Urban Renewal Scheme extended to towns like Claremorris, Ballinrobe, and Ballyhaunis, which would attract people to live in the town centres.

“The streets are ripe for regeneration, but it needs to be driven by local and central government,” said Mr Flynn. “There needs to be a concrete proposals to incentivise development, including tax breaks and a relaxing of the building regulations, introduced in 2011.”

by Marian Duggan – Western People

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