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Irish Rail in viaduct safety rap

Irish Rail could not provide sufficient evidence that it carried out proper safety checks on the Malahide viaduct before it collapsed last summer.

Major errors were discovered in the railway company's official safety record in relation to the viaduct which collapsed just minutes after a full train passed over it.

The Railway Safety Commission (RSC) found that Irish Rail had failed to carry out safety checks across the network, in spite of the fact that they are one of the main requirements for its permission to operate.

The RSC's shocking report also shows that the "vast majority" of safety checklists in Malahide "have never been used" and the necessary number of inspections are "not being achieved".

The report also showed that there was "a lack of evidence" that Irish Rail failed to check for erosion prior to the viaduct collapse -- which is what caused a pillar supporting the track to crumble.

According to Irish Rail, inspectors could not gain access to the bottom of the track in order to carry out a full examination of the structure.

The RSC investigation is one of three currently being carried out relating to the incident on August 21 last year.

An internal Irish Rail report from March determined that the collapse was caused because the seabed was washing away for the last four years, weakening the foundations of the pillar.

Engineers failed to recognise that maintaining the foundation was a priority because of regular staff turnover.

Irish Rail said 12 of the 16 recommendations made by the RSC have been implemented.