Yesterday morning, the 6.45am train from Midleton to Cork was cancelled without warning. When I contacted Irish Rail, they informed me that this was because a driver rang in sick. I was fuming – and soaking wet, as it was pissing down. I didn’t bother complaining, reminding myself that this is yet another example of why people in Ireland don’t use public transport as much as they should.

Then today on the 5.15pm train from Cork to Midleton, a young man boarded in a motorized wheelchair. He struggled to get up the ramp and then had to stay in the middle of the carriage as there wasn’t enough space for him. At Carrigotwhill, the driver came and placed the ramp so he could disembark, and was about to go back and drive off again when a passenger pointed out that the lift for disabled passengers was locked, meaning the young man had to get back on the train via the ramp once again and stay on until the train went to Midleton and then returned to Carrigtwohill via the other platform, thus adding about 20 minutes and no small amount of humiliation to his journey.

Perspective is important – the train not showing up in the morning and me getting wet is not a big deal. A disabled person being forced to endure something as tedious and completely avoidable as what happened this evening is a big deal. There is no excuse, and as long as Irish Rail continue to make ridiculous mistakes like this, nobody in Ireland will willingly pay for their service.

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