Wednesday 23 August 2017

Our rail safety must not be taken for granted

Irish Rail is now so strapped for cash that the company’s boss has warned that safety is again being compromised. Photo: Stock PA
Irish Rail is now so strapped for cash that the company’s boss has warned that safety is again being compromised. Photo: Stock PA
Editorial

Editorial

The workers on "Ireland's permanent way" are the unsung heroes of our transport system. Frequently low on resources, they provide a reliable and quite efficient service. Above all, they have a solid record of safety.

But the big danger in all of this is that the Irish Rail safety record is at serious risk of being taken for granted. And the real problem here is that officialdom has a very short memory.

Spool back just over 30 years and you find two major rail crashes which caused significant loss of life and serious injuries. Both the 1983 crash at Cherryville, Co Kildare, and the 1980 crash at Buttevant, Co Cork, happened in the peak holiday period in August. At Cherryville, the Galway train collided with a train from Kerry, killing seven people and injuring 55. In Buttevant, the Dublin-Cork train was derailed, killing 18 people and injuring more than 70.

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