Cookies on Dublin People website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Dublin People website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
Hide Message
  • Northside East

Irish Rail vows to act following lift protest

Monday, 5th August, 2019 8:00am
Irish Rail vows to act following lift protest

Members of the ‘DART Access for All’ group pictured during the protest at Clontarf DART Station

Irish Rail vows to act following lift protest

Members of the ‘DART Access for All’ group pictured during the protest at Clontarf DART Station

IRISH Rail has vowed to undertake a maintenance programme to address issues at its stations that are impacting greatly on people with disabilities.

 The newly formed ‘DART Access for All’ group held a major protest outside Clontarf DART Station to highlight the lack of access to the DART for wheelchair users.

 The protest highlighted the issue of lifts being continually out of service at some stations on the DART line, denying equality of access to people living with a disability and those with mobility difficulties.

 Members of the group are demanding that lifts for wheelchair access to stations be fixed immediately. 

 Bernard Mulvany, a People Before Profit representative for Clontarf and a disability rights activist, initiated the campaign. 

 Mr Mulvany, whose daughter is a wheelchair user, told Northside People: “The group is calling for DART station lifts to be working so that people living with a disability have access like everyone else. 

 “If this means that there needs to be extra staff at the DART stations to protect the lifts from being vandalised, then that’s what needs to be done.

 “Open and free access to public transport should be a core part of the Government’s commitment to tackle climate change.

 “The Government says that people should be cycling or walking more and leaving cars at home. This is not an option for people with disabilities. Public transport is vital for them.”

 Mr Mulvany said the group is also planning to raise the issue with Richard Bruton, “the Minister who has the portfolio for Climate Action”.

 “This campaign is only beginning,” he added. 

 In a statement to Northside People Irish Rail said it is currently undertaking a programme of preventative maintenance to address some lifts where “we have experienced issues with recurring faults and misuse”.

 “This does mean in the short term, there is a higher than usual level of availability issues,” said a spokesperson for the company.  

 “However, this will ultimately improve reliability over the coming weeks. 

 “We apologise for the issues experienced, particularly in locations where there have been recurring issues. We are confident that the works currently taking place will improve reliability.

 “Lift issues predominantly arise from misuse which have impacted on ongoing reliability, and we are also rolling out a lift call system which will ensure lifts are monitored to prevent access to those who seek to vandalise or damage equipment. 

 “Both investment works and lift call have, for example, greatly improved reliability of lifts at Howth Junction.

 “We update our app, website and station information screens with details of issues to ensure customers can plan when issues arise.”

 The spokesperson said their staff works to ensure that lifts re-enter service as quickly as possible.  

 “In most instances this will happen same day/within 24 hours,” the spokesperson said. 

 “However, where specific part replacement or major works/repairs are required, it can take longer. 

 “We would welcome the opportunity to meet with ‘DART Access for All’ to discuss the issues raised. 

 “We also have a Disability Users Group which ensures we engage with and consult representative bodies for customers with disabilities.”

 The spokesperson added: “Separately, there will also be a more significant programme of investment in lift replacement over the coming years, which will see new and more durable units installed.”

 Speakers at the protest included blogger and wheelchair activist Sean O’Kelly, disability rights activist Kate O’Brien and wheelchair user Saoirse Smith who was recently trapped on a DART due to a lack of staff to assist her. 

 Representatives from the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), Irish Wheelchair Association and organisations involved with disability services, also supported the protest.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here