Dog owners hail more relaxed rules for pets on trains
Tourism promotion groups and organisers of dog shows on both sides of the Border are seeking a relaxation in train-travel facilities for their pet pooches. This follows complaints from some dog owners over 'the attitude' of rail staff on some north-south services as a result of passengers taking dogs onto the trains.
A Translink spokesman said that as a result of earlier representations, there had now been an easing of the restrictions for small canines, so passengers can bring their dogs unto the train "to sit on the floor beside them, or, in the case of small dogs, on their lap".
He said staff had been advised to adapt a "more welcoming attitude" for the dogs. However, the spokesman added that all "aggressive or unruly dogs will still be prevented from entry to passenger seating areas on trains".
Yesterday, Maire Nic an Rea, one dog owner in Co Louth, said : "We are pleased that there is now some easing of the restrictions, as some owners who exhibit at shows on both sides of the Border were recently suggesting that we should lobby the Royal Family in Britain to take up this issue with the rail company - because there would never be any objection to the Queen taking her corgis on a train."
Canine clubs in the border counties had complained that an earlier ban on dogs on some train services had led to a reduced entry at some northern shows.
"The easing of restrictions should lead to increased entries at the various dog shows this summer," one canine club spokesman said.
He added that Iarnrod Eireann had not imposed any restrictions on pet travel and the campaign was directed solely at Translink, which operates services in the North, as well as the Dublin-Belfast cross-border train link.
Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has announced that several hotels and guesthouses in the North have announced that they are now providing additional facilities for guests, enabling them to bring their pet pooches with them on vacation.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for one animal welfare group in Co Louth criticised a recent call by the HSE to ban dogs from pubs.
"We think such a proposal is totally unacceptable and it should be resisted," she said.