Thursday 23 January 2020

Ross 'must meet us on train issues'

The Sligo/Dublin train at MacDiarmada Station, Sligo
The Sligo/Dublin train at MacDiarmada Station, Sligo

The refusal by the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to meet with a delegation of elected representatives from Sligo County Council has been described as "disgraceful" by Councillor Thomas Healy.

"The issue of problems with the rail service to Sligo is growing bigger by the day," stated Cllr Healy, "there are ongoing and escalating concerns with overcrowding and safety which need to be addressed.

"My motion last September for a delegation from Sligo County Council to meet with Minister Ross was a constructive and positive initiative to identify solutions and future planning needs.

"It is a disgrace that Minister Ross refuses to meet with Sligo's elected representatives on issues of mutual concern."

"If we are serious about achieving reductions in carbon emissions then public transport, especially rail, has to be at the heart of it," continued Cllr Healy.

"It is in the benefit of everyone, the public, the Council and Irish Rail that the concerns of the public are addressed if we are going to reduce car use and promote rail travel.

"We also need to have an attractive service for tourism, all over Europe people go on holidays centred on rail travel, we need accessibility here for Sligo tourism.

"We are all aware of recent terrifying incidents on the Sligo Dublin rail line, the reduction of train staff contributes to this and people need to be reassured and their safety guaranteed for future rail travel.

"We cannot have innocent passengers terrorised for prolonged periods between stations and unless the Minister gets real then people will use rail transport only as a last resort."

"Our door remains open," concluded Cllr Healy. "We have an agenda for the meeting with Minister Ross which includes capacity, price, future planning, safety and the prospect of a commuter rail service between Ballymote and Sligo town. These issues will not go away, it is time the Minister started to deal with them," said Cllr Healy.

Sligo Champion