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No appetite to take on Irish Rail catering

January 12th, 2023 7:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

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A COUNCILLOR has said it’s ‘absolutely ridiculous’ that passengers can’t even buy a bottle of water on any of the Irish rail inter-city services.

Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) is calling on Irish Rail to re-introduce the food and beverage service previously provided on rail journeys as a matter of urgency and raised a motion on it at a recent meeting of the local authority. 

The service ceased during the height of the pandemic but did not resume afterwards.

Cllr O’Donovan said he recently got an early morning train from Cork’s Kent Station to Heuston Station.

‘There was nothing open up at Kent Station. Yet when we arrived at Heuston Station everything was open,’ he said. ‘You can travel from Dublin to Belfast and get a full Irish breakfast or even a vegan curry or you can enjoy a glass of Chardonnay or Merlot yet they’re not providing the service in the Republic.’

He added that he had met a couple on the train that evening on his return journey who had received devastating news about their grandchild who is terminally ill.

‘While on the train the woman said all she wanted was a cup of tea and she couldn’t get it.’

He said that Irish Rail has put the catering contract out to tender and hope to have it operational in the New Year but do not have a date yet for this.

‘They have said they are subsidising the previous operator who ran the service and the money they are subsidising, isn’t attractive enough for another operator to come in.’

Cllr O’Donovan called on Cork County Council to write to the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan to increase the subsidy money to attract a new operator on board for the service. Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) and Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) supported him. 

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