09 Aug 2022

Nolan accuses Irish Rail chiefs of treating Longford people like 'second class citizens'

File photo

Cllr Peggy Nolan

Irish Rail are treating Longford people as “second class citizens” and must address staffing issues at the local rail station members of Longford County Council heard at the July meeting of the authority.

Cllr Peggy Nolan tabled the motion saying: “I call on Longford County Council to write to Iarnród Éireann in the interest of public safety to ensure the continuation of services at Longford Railway station and firmly request the return of full services with immediate effect.”

Addressing the chamber Cllr Nolan said: “I am calling on Longford County Council to engage with the necessary authority to address the closure of the building at the station from 2pm daily.”

She explained the reason she brought the issue to the local authority: “It was brought to my attention by members of the public that the offices at the station closes from 2pm. Customers purchase tickets from a machine in the gateway. It's no fault of the staff in Longford station.

“There are a number of staff out sick with long Covid, so there is only one man manning the station. He starts work at 6am and works to 2pm. When he leaves the building is locked up, so there is no toilet facilities for buses. Trying to find out information is like dealing with a secret society, I have received no return calls from Irish Rail.”

Cllr Nolan decried the closure saying: “From Longford to Dublin, we are the only station affected in this way. Longford is the easy target. Despite Transport for Ireland's promotion of rail services or the millions spent on advertising to inform the public to use public transport, we in Longford are totally disadvantaged.

“Those most disadvantaged are those with mobility problems. There is nobody to put a ramp at the train door. If you are in a wheelchair or have a walking aid, or just unsteady on your feet you are disrespected,” she said.

Cllr Nolan demanded action on the issue: “I am writing to Irish Rail to demand that someone is seconded from another station to provide the people of Longford with a proper service, not a second class service. They are treating us as second class citizens. I am not going to stand for it.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Colm Murray, while Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi also spoke in support of the proposal.

A recent statement from Iarnród Éireann to the Longford Leader said normal service will resume as soon as the staffing difficulties are addressed: “The station at Longford is ordinarily manned. Due to annual leave there were a number of days where the station was closed, but once the annual leave is finished the station will revert to its usual opening hours,” a spokesperson told the Longford Leader.

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