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Two Macs clash over rail issue 21.01.08

A SINN Féin councillor has described as "nonsense" Deputy Joe McHugh's claim that his push for a rail link in Donegal is not politically motivated.
Cllr. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said the evidence of this lay with the fact that Fine Gael did not support a Sinn Féin proposal at the recent budget meeting of Donegal County Council for a dedicated rail officer to be appointed to push for a rail network in the county.
"Throughout his eight year political career, Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh has often claimed to be "non party political". Yet, as a political representative for six years now, I have yet to get a call from Deputy McHugh to join together in any campaign," said Cllr. MacLochlainn. Cllr. Padraig Mac Lochlainn and Deputy Joe McHugh.
"In relation to rail and other matters, he has strategically and publicly met with the SDLP's Pat Ramsey on a number of occasions. He trumpets their political alliance again and again in the media. Is this what he calls 'non party political'?"
Cllr. MacLochlainn said Fine Gael and the SDLP were "more than welcome" to form a political alliance in the region.
"But I will not stand by and let them describe their exclusive initiatives as "non party political'," said Cllr. MacLochlainn.
Deputy McHugh last week launched a public petition to get a rail network restored to the North West.
But Sinn Féin say they have been fighting strenuously for rail in the county including a unanimously supported Council motion last year for a feasibility study to be included in the Donegal County Development Plan.
They say their colleague, the North's Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy has come to Donegal to meet rail campaigners and has also committed to investing more than £600m in the Derry/ Belfast rail link.
"In the last fortnight, I joined Senator Pearse Doherty, Raymond McCartney, MLA and Minister Conor Murphy at a regional development meeting where we discussed the need for a Derry to Sligo rail link, incorporating a link to Letterkenny," added Cllr. MacLochlainn.
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