Leitrim County Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal District Area, Sean McGowan, has vowed to “fight tooth and nail” to keep Dromod Railway Station open in the face of speculation of closures by Iarnród Éireann.
A question mark was raised on the future of the south Leitrim station following an article in a national newspaper over the weekend which listed Dromod among a number of other stations, which cater for less than 100 journeys a day.
The National Transport Agency National Rail Census in 2012 has showed that daily boardings for Dromod were just 81 passengers.
The Irish Rail network has been deemed “chronically underfunded” to the tune of around €60m annually and an in-depth review of services across the rail network is now underway with the possibility that under used stations could be closed in a bid to cut costs.
Cllr Sean McGowan told the Leitrim Observer that he, the wider south Leitrim community and the Local Authority would “fight tooth and nail” to secure the future of Dromod Station, Co Leitrim’s only railway station.
“Six days a week we have seven trains travelling each way between Sligo and Dublin, stopping in Dromod, and we also have a number of Sunday services. People are using this station more than they used to and with the bus service to Dromod and Rooskey subjected to cuts in the last few years, this remains the only regular service for those without vehicles, to and from Dublin and Sligo,” pointed out Cllr McGowan.
“The train will have to go past Dromod on its path to and from Sligo and Dublin. To suggest that it would make economic sense not to stop and pick up at Dromod is ridiculous. I would argue that the number of passengers using the service in Dromod is very good. Irish Rail have provided an excellent service to date and I know the entire area of south Leitrim is behind me when I say I will fight tooth and nail to keep the service.”
A spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann has described the discussion of railway station closures as “totally premature”.
In a statement issued earlier this week spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann Barry Kenny said: “What we are doing at the moment with the NTA (National Transport Authority) is looking at the Public Service Obligation funding and the services that we operate in terms of trying to address our financial situation. It is totally premature to talk about any specific actions being taken.
“There is currently a review of services underway. The review is looking at cuts across a number of areas for the service. So far, 40% has been made in non-payroll savings and cuts to staff earnings are set to take place this Sunday.”
The review is being carried out in anticipation of Budget 2015 and is expected to be completed shortly.