There have been calls for serious consideration to be given to extending rail services into Donegal.
Recent discussions took place between Sinn Féin representatives and rail campaign groups to discuss the absence of rail in North West region.
The meeting has prompted a call on Transport Ministers on both sides of the border to build an All-Ireland rail service fitting for the region.
Donegal has been without rail services since 1965, but fresh discussions led by Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson and Donegal TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn have highlighted the potential benefits an extension could bring.
Today TD @PadraigMacL & I met with Into the West & West on Track rail campaign groups
Rail is key 4 Ireland’s future 2 ensure connectivity, sustainability & economic development
— Martina Anderson MLA (@M_AndersonSF) November 19, 2020
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “Donegal has been starved of rail for generations- this is not only a symptom of partition but demonstrates the extent that Donegal’s infrastructure has been neglected by the southern government.
“A rail extension from Derry to Letterkenny, would mean Donegal would once again have access to rail, connecting them to their Derry neighbours and the rest of the northern rail network.
“Meanwhile, links southwards to Sligo and Galway, could go a long way to ending Donegal’s poor provision of infrastructure and isolation from the rest of the island.
“Both Transport Ministers, north and south need to put their heads together and look at ways to progress a rail service that the north west deserves.”
Martina Anderson MLA added: “Rail has a key part to play in our island’s future with regards to connectivity, sustainability and economic development.
“In order for the North West to fully capitalise on our full economic potential, we need to address the striking absence of rail in Derry and Donegal.
“The potential for extending the Derry line to Letterkenny and Strabane, while also looking at links further south into places such as Sligo, needs serious consideration north and south.
“This would help reverse decades of regional inequalities across the north west, while being a huge leap forward in terms of developing a genuine all-Ireland rail network that serves the whole island.”