Reader’s worrying review raises concerns over rail safety


It’s Wednesday evening of last week, and a couple of us are going door to door with our tickets for the upcoming dance, when we call to a house somewhere in the Creggs-Glinsk area. The lady who answers the door is slightly apologetic because she is wearing her wellies, and when we are in the kitchen (she did invite us in) she tells us that she is just home from the ploughing, and hadn’t time to change her footwear.

  Out of curiosity, because Wednesday was one of the wettest days that ever came our way, I asked her what it was like for traffic and parking, and that kind of stuff, and she told me that she had travelled by train from Roscommon to Tullamore, and there was a shuttle bus running out to the event itself.

  I made the remark that that was a great idea, but wasn’t prepared for the reaction I got. She said the train journey was a total nightmare…completely overcrowded, with people standing up, sitting on tables, some sitting on floors – and that there was no room to move in any direction.

  It was her next comment that made me sit up and take notice, when she said that in her opinion if the train had to brake suddenly for any reason, there could have been carnage in the carriage. In her opinion many lives would have been lost if such a simple act took place. Then she said to me that if I sat into my car to drive to Creggs, and had no seat belt on, if I was stopped by a Garda I would be fined and would receive a few points on my driving license.

  As it happened, my own ticket-selling partner had gone from Longford to Dublin for the Roscommon-Mayo matches a few weeks ago, and she had a similar horror story about her experiences on the train. And so it begs the question – is there no regulation, safety-wise, over the rail network, and is overcrowding, which seems to occur very often, acceptable, even though it is a form of public transport?

  Some years ago, as a hackney driver, I had a minibus which was licensed to carry eight people. One night I was stopped by a Garda when I had one too many people on. I was warned if it happened again I would lose my license, and, while I was let off on that occasion, I had to dispense with one passenger and continue on my way with the legal number of eight. I think the overcrowding issue on my minibus was to do with insurance, and by carrying nine people, I wasn’t covered; surely the same rule must apply to a train – and if it is meant to carry a certain number of people that should be the number on it.

  The stories I heard suggests this thing happens on a regular basis and I wonder, God forbid, if an accident did occur what would be the insurance situation if the train involved in this hypothetical accident was drastically overcrowded? The Road Safety Authority are doing great work highlighting road safety and careful driving, so why should Iarnrod Eireann be any different?

  Time after time, on the national and local airwaves, we hear the Iarnrod Eireann spokesperson, Barry Kenny, come up with various explanations for all kinds of failings in the rail system – including breakdowns, late arrivals and overcrowding. But the problems don’t seem to go away. Let’s hope and pray that my woman’s prediction of carnage in a carriage doesn’t come true, but, I, for one, wouldn’t bet on it. 

Pride and joy despite defeats

Those of us who follow the fortunes of the local football and rugby teams had a tremendous day last Saturday, when the footballers took on Oran in the quarter-final of the Intermediate Championship at 4 pm in the Hyde, and the rugby lads played host to Castlebar, under lights, in The Green at 8 pm.

  I had to close the shop at 3.30 to be in time for the football, and even though the lads went down by a point, as always they gave everything they had, and can look back with pride on two amazing years of championship football in which they remained unbeaten until last Saturday.

  One of the great things about Creggs footballers is they can handle defeat with the same grace as when they win, and if a stranger ventured into Mikeen’s on Saturday night they might well have been forgiven for thinking Creggs had won the All-Ireland, such was the level of craic and fun that the team and management were having.

  The rugby lads also went down by a small margin, but they too played very well and it was great credit to Tom Fleming, who played all of both games, and Mark Brandon, who played all the rugby and was involved in the football for a while, that they played so well in the two contests.

  A number of the rugby lads from the old days were in the village, and it was great to have a pint or two in Mikeen’s with Liam Callaghan and Barry Kilcommons and reminisce of fun and games in days gone by.

* Sticking with local matters, and we are almost ready for the dance in Dowd’s this Saturday night. We are making our last door to door calls so hopefully we have got to you all. If not, try to get to Glinsk on Saturday night, where Jimmy Kearney and The Lancers will have you hopping the whole night long. It’s all for Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund.

And finally…

Finally for this week, it’s great to have a positive story to finish with, and the handful of volunteers in Creggs Tidy Towns who have laboured so hard for so long – with very little support – have finally been rewarded with a major national award in this year’s competition.

  The new leisure walk route in Creggs was recognised with a special €1,000 Sustainable Development Award, and it is fit recognition for Carmel O’Roarke and her few loyal hard-working volunteers.

  It was great to see our little village listed among the national winners on the front of the Irish Independent, so, congrats to all who give up so much of their time to make Creggs a better (and nicer) place to live in – and very well done.