A Carrigans based Reverend has collected 10,000 signatures supporting a campaign to reopen the Galway to Donegal railway line. Rev. David Crooks is now seeking a meeting with Transport Minister Leo Varadkar to submit his petition and challenge him on the project.
“We are seeking to create a Cork to Derry railway line and link the entire West coast,” said Rev. Crooks.
“What we are talking about is establishing a Western rail corridor by extending the Limerick to Galway line as far as Derry. The old line closed in 1976 but we want to open it up to Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Letterkenny, Newtowncunningham and Derry.
“I always felt Donegal had the same rights to railway and road infrastructure as those in Galway, Dublin or Cork. We pay our taxes too and a railway line would do so much to open up Donegal to the rest of the country. The economic benefits are obvious and would generate a lot of tourist income. Joe McHugh our local TD has also been helping move the idea forward, and I was delighted to help the campaign he started.”
As well as forming a pressure group to lobby for the project, Rev. Crooks has launched a website to assist in the campaign.
“Prior to the election I met with Enda Kenny who promised me that, when in power, he would have the project priced. We need to get the costings done so we know the size of the task facing us.”
Rev Crooks said that a number of different European grants and funds were available for the project. “There is already a track in place from the Old Western Rail line as far as Sligo from Galway so the project wont be overly expensive. It is manageable. They have just finished the new M8 and M9 motorways so a strip of land for a railway line is not an insurmountable problem.
“The project would also create jobs in the construction industry at a time when they are needed most.
“We are discussing providing a rail service to 1, 570, 000 people which is larger population than greater Dublin.”
Rev Crooks has been championing a reopening of the Western railway line for a number of years.
“It would be a beautiful track imagine getting on a train in Derry that could take you anywhere on the West coast as far as Cork.”
The signatures were collected across County Donegal. Rev. Crooks said anyone who would like to assist his campaign can find out more from www.linkingeuropeanddonegal.org