An application for EU funding for transport projects in the west and northwest was dropped following the intervention of Leo Varadkar when he was minister for transport, newly disclosed documents reveal.
Projects such as the western rail corridor and the upgrading of Sligo airport were deleted from an EU-wide transport programme in 2011 at the behest of Mr Varadkar, according to the documents.
It’s revealed in documents obtained by the Irish Times today that following an intervention by Leo Varadkar when he Transport Minister in 2011, that an application for EU funding for transport projects in the west and northwest was dropped.
Now it’s understood that Leo Varadkar was warned by party colleagues that deleting the western rail corridor and funding for Sligo airport could close off these projects from EU funding “for good”. Mr Varadkar is understood to have believed that the business case for these projects was weak.
At the time the government prioritised road-rail-port-airport infrastructure for Dublin, Cork and Limerick, with a link to Belfast, while the western half of the State north of Limerick was excluded.
But the current Government, which includes a number of Independent Alliance TDs from western constituencies, is now seeking to reverse the exclusion of western projects from the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Network (Ten-T) programme.
The Taoiseach’s office did not respond to a request for comment to these revelations.