Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North James Lawless says a lack of strategic planning by Minister for Transport Shane Ross has resulted in significant hardship for rail commuters, particularly in the Greater Dublin Area.

Deputy Lawless made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that commuter carparks in Sallins, Maynooth and Portmarnock are dangerously overcrowded. Minister Ross has also failed to order the purchase of new rail carriages despite the number of commuters soaring to record levels.

Deputy Lawless said, “Rail commuters are being shafted by this Government. Commuters in areas such as Sallins and Maynooth are finding it next to impossible to find a car park space on a daily basis. This is not surprising considering the official figures made available show that the carpark occupancy in Sallins so far in 2018 has reached 160% on an almost daily basis. This is a dangerous level of overcrowding and shows that the current car park simply cannot meet demand.

“Even if commuters are lucky to find a space in the car park they then have to contend with overcrowded carriages. There is only standing room in the carriages at rush hour and on occasion passengers are unable to board the train as they are dangerously overcrowded. This simply isn’t acceptable when you consider passengers are paying high prices for the service. The least they should be able to expect is to board the train.

“It’s inexcusable that Minister Ross didn’t have the foresight to order Irish Rail to purchase more carriages for use on commuter services. We’ve known for the last number of years that the number of passengers using the rail service was on the increase. It was forecast that demand was set to outstrip supply, yet Minister Ross failed to have the foresight to order more carriages to help meet demand.

“Rail commuters in Kildare and other commuter areas have been treated with nothing but disrespect by Minister Ross and his Fine Gael colleagues. How can we expect to grow the number of people using public transport if the Government continually fails to invest in strategic infrastructure,” concluded Deputy Lawless.