23.5.05

 

West Council prepares for major battle

The Council for the West is to step up its campaign to gain a fair share of National Development Plan funding for the BMW Region after revealing that the area could have fallen around 2 billion euro behind schedule.

The critical slippage can only lead to a consequent widening gap in infrastructure between East and West, the Council points out.
 
The Council took its campaign to Dublin last week when it meet  with TDs, Senators and MEPs from the West and outlined its case
 
Said Council Chairman Sean Hannick: "We were pleased with the attendance of Western public representatives who were very supportive. They welcomed the latest information we had to give them.
 
"Perhaps the main outcome of the meeting was the setting up of a Liaison Group in Leinster House to work with the Council for the West in pursuit of our fair share campaign," he added.

Mr Hannick has no illusions about the scale of the battle that lies ahead. "Minister Eamon O Cuiv, when asked if he could give an assurance that the BMW region would get a fair share of the transport capital envelope over the next five to ten years, could give no such assurance. From that the Council delegation came away with the definite impression that a big battle will have to be fought if the BMW Region is to succeed in getting its fair share," added Mr Hannick.
 
The Council for the West briefed the Public Representatives on concerns ranging across employment, the recent OECD Review on Higher Education, the failure of the IDA to live up to its commitment to ensuring 50% of greenfield jobs for the BMW region, roads and rail infrastructure, energy needs in terms of electricity and gas, telecommunications  regional imbalance and the provision of a large scale business park at Knock International Airport.