Irish MEP raises Fishguard Trains debate with Minister

Nessa Childers MEP for Ireland East

Nessa Childers MEP

Nessa Childers, MEP for the Ireland East constituency, has raised the bi-national Fishguard Trains debate on the rundown of Rosslare with Ireland’s Transport Minister Alan Kelly TD.

In the past week. Fishguard Trains has hosted an increasingly vigorous discussion about the alarming rundown of the rail-sail route through Rosslare and Fishguard. Commentators on both sides of the Irish Sea have noted the progressive loss of connections, closure of services and dismantling of walk-on walk-off facilities at the Irish port. When the question of a potential breach of European Regulations was raised, Fishguard Trains drew the attention of local MEPs in Wales and Ireland to the issue.

Nessa Childers, daughter of a former President of Ireland, is a Labour MEP for the East constituency, which reaches from Rosslare in the south-east to Dundalk, north of Dublin. In her letter to Alan Kelly, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport responsible for Public and Commuter Transport, Childers criticises “the timetable anomaly … between the weekday arrival time of the Stena Line ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare and the train service from Rosslare to Dublin.” She describes “both sides stating that the other should revise their timetables to facilitate passengers.”

Quoting the European Regulations for both rail and sea passengers, she concludes:

“I am concerned that the the Irish government appears to be, via its railway operator obstructing the free movement of citizens of EU member states into and out of the country. Regulation 1371/2007 also contains references to “Missed Connections”, with attendant compensation. Also since the Rosslare – Dublin train was temporarily re-timed to meet the ferries during the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud disruption to air travel in 2010, legal precedent has been established that the rail operator can time its schedules to meet the ferries if it so desires.”

We welcome this important issue receiving attention at the level it deserves. Fishguard Trains has also referred the issue to Welsh MEPs. With Dublin taking an interest, we hope that Cardiff will do likewise.

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