Transport Minister Eamon Ryan says the return of rail connectivity to Donegal will be very expensive, but should be looked at.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Minister Ryan said a rail link between Letterkenny and Derry, as well as Strabane, Omagh and Dungannon would be of huge benefit to the island and would improve island connectivity.
” This will not be cheap. I had a series of meetings with ARUP and the UK rail transport expert who was asked by the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson to examine some large projects,” the Minister said.
The funding of the line, he said, would mostly fall to the UK government.
“It would be very expensive because we would need to build a new line even though there is an existing line.
“The UK Government would be the key funders of such a line, but in terms of the strategic long-term development of the island it has huge potential and I look forward to seeing what the final conclusions are.”
The Minister was speaking in response to Deputy Pearse Doherty, who pointed out the imbalance of rail connectivity North and South.
Deputy Doherty said: “Now we only have a single eastern-based North-South rail corridor on the island. This imbalance is further laid bare by the fact that of the 54 stations in the Northern Six Counties, only three are situated west of the Bann. In Donegal, the situation is far more dire. Rail is simply not an option in Donegal with direct consequences, as the Minister knows, in terms of the social and economic life of the county.”