Back up Porterstown claims, says O’Gorman

by Gazette Reporter

Local Green Party candidate for Castleknock Roderic O’Gorman has called on Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, to publish evidence to back up his claim that the Porterstown Road level crossing is dangerous.
He was speaking after the Gazette published an article in which Minister Varadkar said that the Porterstown level crossing was the 59th most dangerous in the country.
O’Gorman this week stated that both public and local representatives were entitled to see this information so that they could assess it.
Speaking to the Gazette, O’Gorman said: “In light of Minister Varadkar’s recent claim that the Porterstown Road level crossing is the 59th most dangerous in the country, I’ve written to Minister Varadkar to ask him to make the information upon which this figure is based available to the public.”
He went on to say that the proposal to close the local level crossing at Porterstown had not been backed up by evidence from Irish Rail or the National Transport Authority, and has caused “major upset” for residents living along the road and in the wider Clonsilla area.
“This was demonstrated by the near unanimous opposition to the proposal at the public meeting in November,” he said.
“If there are safety concerns, these are absolutely relevant to the decision. However, these need to be published so the public can see and assess any available evidence related to safety.”
O’Gorman said he believes that Irish Rail and the NTA have approached the issue in the wrong way.
“Rather than meeting the local community and explaining their concerns, they have employed a totally top-down approach which seems to be an attempt to avoid any engagement with the public.
“I hope Minister Varadkar will publish the specific report in which Porterstown is listed as the 59th most dangerous level crossing in the country and that he makes this available to all elected representatives in the Dublin 15 area and to the local group that opposes the closure of the crossing”, he concluded.
Porterstown resident Dave Hughes has also questioned the danger of the level crossing, and has described Minister Varadkar’s comments as “scaremongering”.
“The incidents he seeks to exploit are minor and exaggerated and pale into significance when compared to the number of incidents which occur at school times and which will multiply if the road is closed,” he said.
In a letter from Irish Rail to Minister Varadkar outlining safety statistics at Porterstown level crossing, a total of 23 incidents was listed as having taken place between 2008 and 2013. Such incidents included reports of kids messing at the barriers, a pedestrian jumping barriers, youths playing and obstructing barriers, vehicles striking barriers, a dead dog and an individual acting suspiciously.
When the Minister’s comments appeared in a recent Gazette article the Porterstown crossing ranked as 59th most dangerous. However in a more recent letter to the Minister from Irish Rail it now ranks Porterstown level crossing as 54th out of 1,064 in terms of risk profile.
In response, Minister Varadkar said important decisions have to be made on this issue.
“I have said I will respect whatever decision the local authority makes, but the numbers provided by Irish Rail are indeed alarming. I have provided them to the Gazette, and I’m also happy to provide them to Roderic O’Gorman and to any member of the council. The level of risky incidents is only going to increase at this crossing. That’s why it’s important that the council makes sure that whatever decision it takes, it’s made on the basis of safety.”

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