'I had to leave my job,' says one wheelchair user at DART station protest over broken lifts

'I had to leave my job,' says one wheelchair user at DART station protest over broken lifts

A wheelchair user has said she was forced to quit her job because of the problems faced by disabled people getting the DART.

A protest has been held outside Clontarf Road station to highlight the constant breakdown of lifts across the network.

Some lifts have been out of service for up to two weeks.

Irish Rail said people vandalising lifts is a big problem and that upgrade works will take place over the next few weeks to make them more reliable.

Saoirse Smith is a stand-up comedian and wheelchair user who said the current situation is not acceptable.

Ms Smith said: "You're stuck and you can't go anywhere, you can't go from A to B. When the lifts weren't working, I was losing out on money in my job and I had to leave my job because I wasn't earning enough. It wasn't worth it in the end."

Attending today's demonstration, nine-year-old Sophia said the situation is not right.

She said: "It's very bad that [people] just had to abandon their trip altogether.

"It takes only four days to get to the Moon, but it takes two weeks to fix a lift - that just doesn't make sense."

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said equality of access on public transport must become a "redline issue".

He argued: “Very many stations in my area of Dún Laoghaire, but also all along the DART line, have experienced major issues with the lifts. In many cases, the lifts are not operational for long periods of time.

“This situation is totally unacceptable and must be addressed by the government in the upcoming budget."

He said fully functional lifts are a "minimum", and also called for "drastic improvements" to access points at DART stations.

Responding to the demonstration, Irish Rail says it works to restore lift service as quickly as possible when they break down - usually within 24 hours.

However, they acknowledge that it can take longer when specific parts or major repairs are needed.

The rail firm also said there's a programme of "preventative maintenance" ongoing at the moment - meaning there are currently more issues than usual, but as part of an effort to improve reliability in the future.

In a statement, they said: "We apologise for the issues experienced, particularly in locations where there have been recurring issues.

"We are confident that the works currently taking place will improve reliability."

The transport company said it would welcome the opportunity to meet with DART Access for All to discuss the issues raised.


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