Commuter safety is first priority, despite scarce funding

08/07/2011

“Commuter safety should no longer be a concern for residents of Dublin North, despite budget cutbacks”, according to Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell, commenting on the approach of the two year anniversary marking the Malahide viaduct collapse in August 09.

“Since the collapse of the Malahide viaduct in 2009, residents in Dublin North have been understandably concerned about the safety of the Irish Rail Network. It was a near-tragic wake up call for the previous administration who had allowed for such extreme neglect for of the Irish railway system, even in a time of economic boom.

“Safety is a primary concern and I have made it a priority to ensure that the people in North Dublin are certain that nothing has fallen through the cracks during this period of restricted resources. I am reassured to receive confirmation from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, that the first priority for scarce funding is to protect and maintain existing investments, and maintain high safety standards.

“This year alone €108 million has been allocated for maintenance, upkeep and enhancement of safety management systems on the rail network, including human performance, as part of the Rail Safety Programme.

“I am pleased to learn that the Department is working closely with Iarnród Éireann on this issue and that the Minister is committed to carrying out a Mid Term Review of the Railway Safety Programme.

“Significant changes have taken place since the report within Iarnród Éireann and the Rail Safety Programme to address issues identified in the report following the collapse of the Malahide viaduct in August 2009. Substantial reorganisation of the Iarnród Éireann Civil Engineering Department, including the appointment of Chief Civil Engineer and Technical Manager for civil engineering. The Technical Manager is accountable for safety of track and infrastructure.

“It is appalling that rail conditions had deteriorated so much during the boom years that the people in Dublin North had such a near miss, and faced the consequences of a sub-standard transport system during the long term repair process.

“I will make it my priority to ensure that this government will not lose sight of the importance of upkeep and commuter safety, in particular at a time when cutbacks in other areas are imminent.”