Calls for rail to be extended to Fermanagh

THE ONGOING work to bring the railways back to the west could see tracks with speeds of 200km per hour, it has been revealed.

However, as it stands, Fermanagh won’t be connected to the revolutionary infrastructure project.

Recently Minister John O’Dowd suggested the tracks proposed by the All-Island Strategic Rail Review would be high-speed when eventually developed.


The Review report had previously stipulated the electric lines would be limited to 160km per hour, however Derry MLA Mark Durkan questioned this in the Assembly, stating it would be unfair to limit new connections to slower speeds than elsewhere. Mr O’Dowd replied that the line would be 200km per hour.

There was much disappointment and anger locally following the publication of the All-Island Strategic Rail Review, after it emerged Fermanagh had not been included in the plan.

If that plan is progressed as it stands, it would leave Fermanagh the only county in Ireland without a rail connection.

The Into the West lobby group, which was instrumental in pushing for the all-island plan, has since been campaigning for the county to be included.

Local Cllr Adam Gannon, pictured left, last week welcomed the inclusion of Fermanagh in an SDLP opposition motion in the Assembly that would extend the plan into the county, and called on Minister O’Dowd to work with the Irish government to progress the plan.

“There was widespread anger right across the Fermanagh area when our county was the only one on the entire island that did not have a new rail link included in the all island rail review,” said Cllr Gannon.

“Given the impact that a lack of modern public transport links has had for people here and our ability to attract much needed investment it stands to reason that Fermanagh would have formed a key part of these proposals.”


He added, “In government the SDLP commissioned the rail review because we knew the difference it could make to communities right across this island.

“Affordable and accessible public transport would play a key role in addressing regional imbalance by boosting local economies, supporting our tourism industry, and also help us tackle the climate crisis by encouraging people to leave their cars at home.

“In Opposition the SDLP has recognised that Fermanagh was overlooked in the initial review and has successfully secured the support of the Assembly that every county should be included.

“An Omagh-Enniskillen-Sligo rail link would bring our island closer together and create more opportunities for people to live and work in these areas.”

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