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Clear Direction For DART Now Needed Says Fianna Fail’s Cathal Haughey

As the dust settles on Irish Rail’s second “Public Consultation” on its DART + Coastal North programme, held in the Marine Hotel Tuesday May 16, the meeting seems to have raised more questions than answers for locals.

Speaking after the event, Fianna Fail’s Cathal Haughey expressed his concern at the lack of information and the uncertainty for direct public transport to the city. “At a time when the area is seeing considerable development, it is regrettable that Irish Rail is asking locals to place their faith in a plan which they have not yet fully ironed out themselves.”

Citing the proposed shuttle service between Howth Junction as problematic, Haughey said it was high time for Irish Rail to come clean, “Irish Rail is being very vague with their plans. The bottom line is that it is a downgrade of services for people in Howth, Sutton, Bayside and Baldoyle. It is a loss of a direct train. After switching, it will be much harder to get on a packed southbound train at Howth Junction-Donaghmede. There is also serious safety and anti-social behaviour concerns at this station. Although the revised plans include upgrades to Howth Junction-Donaghmede and this is to be welcomed, these improvements can be made without Howth, Sutton and Bayside losing their direct train.”

Commenting on the increased wait-times at the level crossings along the Howth branch, Haughey said “Some of the level crossings would be down for a combined 30 minutes every hour in these plans. Even if not getting a train, driving or getting a bus is going to be seriously impacted by these changes. It is crazy at a time we are trying to get people to use public transport.”

While Irish Rail’s Public Consultation is maybe more akin to public relations, real information and hard facts are needed to alleviate concerns, according to Haughey, who continued, “even from a tourist standpoint, less access means less tourists. If visitors have to make a two-leg trip to Howth, via Irish Rail’s shuttle service from Howth Junction, tourists are more likely to not bother, and go elsewhere instead.”

In a call for joined-up thinking, Haughey said it was high time that Irish Rail, the NTA, Dublin Bus, Fingal County Council and local representatives came together to ensure high quality public transport is a priority for Howth, Sutton, Bayside and Baldoyle now and into the future.

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