Lets get one thing very straight about numbers
Target was 250k Ennis Athenry, 125-140k is the best done so far, this is a fact. Adding in Galway Athenry and Ennis Limerick is a classic smokescreen to inflate the numbers
What is shocking is despite the 21st century infrastructure and automation its loss is still significant. Closing it doesn't really save much but it does save on the operating costs and requires minimal redundancies. Nenagh on the other hand what you are mainly saving is the future costs of major engineering works.
There is a huge question of efficiency, we cannot fund a frequent all day commuter service to Longford, Athlone, Gorey, its mostly carrying air around apart from some demand in morning and evening, folks then complain they have no late night service etc. If you choose to live 80 miles away then you will only get a basic service. Thats not sustainable development we are actually encouraging people to build cheap one off houses in Longford and to spend 2 hours each way on a train, its not a way to live.
Prior to the introduction of Longford Dublin it was Mullingar Dublin, 50 miles a reasonable cut off distance, there was a plan for a late evening post 9pm train, once the service got pushed out to Longford the evening train plan was scrapped as the numbers could no longer stack up.