'I Was Left In Complete Darkness' - Wheelchair User Left Stranded On Train at Empty Dublin Station
A man who uses a wheelchair was recently left stranded on a train at an empty station as there were no staff available to help him on to the platform.
Gerard Gallagher had travelled from Sligo to Connolly Station with Irish Rail but found himself unable to disembark on arrival in Dublin as there was nobody available to put a ramp in place.
According to The Irish Examiner, Mr Gallagher had left his mobility scooter in a wheelchair area before sitting in a nearby carriage and had to wait for all the other passengers to disembark before he could access the vehicle.
"I was by the door awaiting assistance very shortly after the last passenger in my carriage had disembarked. I waited for approximately five minutes and then realised that there were no Irish Rail staff members coming forward to provide the ramp. The power to the train was turned off and I was left in complete darkness for 35 minutes," he told the newspaper.
"All the doors closed around me. I tried contacting the office for Connolly Station by phone but there was no reply, shortly after this my phone died as there were no charge points on this train. I had no way of contacting anyone. I was completely alone and no one knew where I was."
Mr Gallagher pressed the emergency buttons on the train but he received no response until a cleaner on the platform heard his shouts for help over 30 minutes later.
He said that he had endured similar experiences "more than once" and has now lodged a formal complaint.
A spokesperson for Irish Rail said that what happened to Mr Gallagher was "unacceptable" and that the company had apologised to him "for the incident and the distress caused".
"We are investigating the incident in full to establish what went wrong, and to ensure we prevent a recurrence. Our employees are proud to assist the transport needs of mobility and sensory impaired customers across the country on a daily basis, and we liaise with representative bodies through our Disability Users Group. We will work to ensure that nobody has to experience such an incident again," they said.