Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan says he plans to 'transform' rail links at Waterford, Limerick and Cork.
Two unpublished reports have ruled out opening the Western Rail Corridor for passengers between Galway and Mayo.
However the Minister wants to re-open a stretch of line between Limerick City and the deepwater port at Foynes in Co. Limerick.
Eamon Ryan says it would open the port to European opportunities:
"To get European status as a tier 2 port or a top level port, you need railway connectivity because Europe wants everyone to move as best we can.
"So it makes real sense to open the Foyne line and it's pretty much ready to go as a project. Irish Rail could do it fairly quickly and it makes real sense."