Irish Rail hopes to restore catering services soon

Irish Rail hopes to restore catering services on some of its services shortly, a spokesperson has told The Echo.

The announcement follows a call from Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, that Irish Rail should restore catering on its trains.

Mr Gould had described as “completely ridiculous” the situation where train passengers had to travel for hours without access to drinking water.

“Many people will get onto trains assuming that the trolleys are back serving bottles of water and may not purchase one in a shop at the train station,” he said.

“Trains may get delayed, break down or experience other issues. This leaves people without access to drinking water for unsustainable lengths of time,” Mr Gould said, adding that while the lack of catering services had been a necessity during the pandemic restrictions, there was however now a need to reinstate those services.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said that, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, contractors had delivered very effectively catering services to the company’s customers, and customer feedback had been very positive.

“The provider who withdrew did so after Covid due to staffing and costs issues, [issues] typical of the catering and hospitality sector, and these issues still exist with providers we have spoken with.

“We do however hope to confirm details shortly for a partial return of catering services through a contracted supplier, something both we and our customers look forward to,”

the spokesperson said.

Mr Gould said that when he had asked at ministerial level about the lack of water and other drinks and snacks on trains, he had received a reply blaming the absence of services on a lack of interest from contractors.

With the train service a public service, he said, there should be no need to appoint a contractor.

“Once again, we see that outsourcing has failed,” the Sinn Féin TD said.

“Fine Gael have tried their best to privatize every sector of society and again, and again, we see the consequences of this.

“I am now calling on Irish Rail to consider directly employing staff and running their own refreshments service,” Mr Gould said.

“As we head into warmer months again, this is becoming a bigger issue. It is now time for Iarnród Éireann to sort this issue and bring back refreshments.”


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