A few points:
Ennis-Athenry has new infrasctructure and the financial impact of closure would be relatively minor. North of Athenry is a totally different ball game, even ignoring low traffic levels. The very considerable capital costs are relevant to any decision, whereas the capital costs of Ennis-Athenry are sunk costs and therefore irrelevant. If I had to put in new investment, a few bob on a crossing loop at Sixmilebridge might not go astray.
Goods, you say
Longford, Gorey Athlone commuters.......Whats the alternative...... to have everybody living in Dublin?
Very long-distance commuting is in large measure a response to hopeless transport and planning decisions within 20 to 30 kms of Dublin. DART underground and other investments complementary to it would enhance the quality and quantity of commuting from a relatively small distance.
I propose a new variant of Boyle's law (remember, For a fixed amount of gas, pressure and volume are inversely proportional
). This reads, for any railway project, the political pressure is inversely proportional to the likely volume of traffic