Fintan makes the case for restoring railway to Fermanagh

Fintan O'Doherty

Fintan O’Doherty

TRAINS may not have been seen in Fermanagh for well over 50 years, but one university student has joined to fight to see them return.

Fintan O’Doherty, originally from Enniskillen, is a final year Business and Logistics student at Liverpool John Moores University and the 22-year-old is doing his thesis on the potential benefits of restoring many of the old railway lines that criss-crossed Ireland, including the old GNR railways in Fermanagh.


The main aim of the  20,000 word project is to determine the need for a diverse rail network in Ireland as well as producing an analysis of the feasibility of projecting a rail network across Ireland, with a heavy focus on tourism.

As part of his research he is travelling from Liverpool over to Fermanagh on November 19 to guage local opinion, including local DUP councillor Bert Johnston who has long advocated the return of the railways to the county.

“I am coming over to hopefully have a chat with a number of people, including the Fermanagh Tourism, Bert and also the Johnston Brothers, Gordon and Nigel, from the Headhunters Museum.

“I also have a proposed visit to Sligo to conduct some research on how their rail network has influenced different trend shifts in their modes of transport across the Iarnrod Eireann network covering the South. This will help me to analyse areas where errors can be avoided in the general overview of the proposed rail network.”

Fintan’s decision to undertake the project was due to an article he read in the Herald, in which  councillor Johnston spoke of his desire to have the railways restored.

He explained: “It is like a breath of fresh air to hear that the politicians are addressing real problems in our community. I have spoken with Bert a number of times since reading the article and I am looking forward to discussing in depth the problems with regard to infrastructure, and the detrimental effects this is having on tourism and local business in Fermanagh, and even more importantly on, our economy.”

Councillor Johnston expressed his delight that Fintan had joined the fight for the return of the railway.


“I’m very, very excited that somebody else is starting to take it seriously. After the railways closed in 1958 we were promised a motorway and we should still be pressing for that to Enniskillen, but also we shouldn’t lose sight of the railways.

“I’m not sure I will be about to enjoy it , but somebody should be able to enjoy a ride on a train from Enniskillen to Belfast, I think we’re entitled to that.”

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