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Rail link to Shannon urged

Shannon Chamber of Commerce has called on the Government to carry out a study of the feasibility of a rail link to Shannon as quicklyas'possible.

Speaking at the recent launch of a report on the impact of Open Skies, chief executive Triona McInerney stressed the need to open the Western rail corridor with a direct link to Shannon.

As the Government's recent transport plan provided for a feasibility study on the rail link, Ms McInerney said this should be carried out as a matter of priority.

"We are not being unrealistic in asking that the feasibility study is put into action. The rail link has to be seen as being beneficial to the region and that is the purpose of the feasibility study;" she said.

The rail link would increase the airport's catchment area as well as providing a service for the thousands of workers who commute daily to and from Shannon, Ms McInerney added.

The Open Skies reportjointly carried out by IEEe and the Shannon and Ennis chambers of commercealso identifies the motorway between Galway and Limerick as a key piece of infrastructure and calls for its speedy completion.

"These combined are critical pieces of the jigsaw to see this region accelerate and support our key asset, Shannon International Airport," Ms McInerney said.

With 15.5 per cent of industrial output coming from the Western Region, Shannon airport must be seen as a national asset, not just a regional one:

"Very often Shannon is seen as being parochial in trying to promote our local airport: we want to dispel that view," she added.

But Transport Minister Martin Cullen rejects calls on the Government to carry out another study on the impact of Open Skies.

In a letter to Shannon Town Council, a spokesman for the Minister said: "The conclusion that Open Skies will be good for Irish tourism, aviation, business links and the economy general is clear; the Minister does not believe it would be appropriate to delay those benefits further by commissioning another study on the impact of Open Skies."


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