The lack of any plan by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Iarnrod Eireann to provide a suitable lift or ramp to platform two at Ennis Railway Station for people with disabilities has been described as unacceptable.
A replacement bridge was constructed to “modern standards” after the original access bridge was deemed to be in poor condition by the NTA, however no permanent accessibility access for people with disabilities was included in the build, Clare TD Michael McNamara has noted.
“I am disappointed to now learn from the Minister for Transport that despite the bridge being designed to accommodate a lift or ramp in the future, there is no immediate plans to do so. This is unacceptable, as is assurances from Iranrod Eireann that a member of staff is made available to safely deploy a wheelchair ramp at the station in Ennis once advanced notice is provided” said Deputy McNamara.
“Why must people with disabilities be forced to give notice of plans to travel to Irish Rail in advance, when able bodied people can decide at the last minute to travel by train? This is to all intents and purposes a form of discrimination and cannot be allowed to continue. I am therefore calling on the NTA to provide an appropriate lift or ramp as a matter of urgency at Ennis Railway Station,” he added.
Deputy McNamara raised the issue with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in a parliamentary question.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, in response, said “It is understood from the National Transport Authority (NTA) that the original access bridge at Ennis Station was in poor condition and had to be replaced. The replacement bridge is constructed to modern standards and has been designed to accommodate a lift or ramp in the future.
In order to provide accessibility for all its customers Iarnrod Eireann can make arrangements for access in accordance with arrangements set out on its website www.irishrail.ie/travel-information/disabled-access.
I understand a member of staff is made available to safely deploy a wheelchair ramp at Ennis Station once advance notice is provided.”