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Matthews supports calls from autism charity As I Am for trial rollout of quiet carriages

Date: 1 July 2021

Green Party TD, Steven Matthews was speaking following a series of correspondences with the Minister for Transport, Iarnród Éireann and As I Am on the issue of ‘quiet carriages’ on trains. This scheme, which is common practice in other jurisdictions, offers autistic people and their carers a space to use to calm themselves down during what can be hugely stressful periods, especially if they are taking a lengthy journey. Irish Rail operated quiet carriages between 2010 and 2018 on the Dublin to Cork line but then phased it out for various operational reasons. Discussing the campaign, Deputy Matthews said:

“This is an issue that was brought to my attention by As I Am in recent weeks and I fully support their efforts. Quiet carriages do exactly what they say on the tin and offers passengers one carriage or more on a train where you can’t play music, talk on the phone, or engage in loud conversations. This is particularly pertinent for those with autism and their carers but may be of benefit to any train passenger who wish to have a peaceful and quiet journey.

“I’m fully supportive of As I Am’s campaign and welcomed the very positive engagement in the first instance with the Minister for Transport who referred me to deal with Irish Rail directly who subsequently outlined their plans in this regard. As it stands, Irish Rail have confirmed that they are investigating the reintroduction of quiet carriages, on a trial basis in the first instance on the Dublin-Cork line. This assessment will be carried out in the coming months.

“Many families and carers have been lobbying for the return of quiet carriages ever since their phasing out in 2018 and I absolutely understand their concerns. Given the unprecedented investment we are seeing in public transport infrastructure, we need to consider more vulnerable passengers and our focus at a national level should be about making public transport accessible and welcoming to all passengers.

“This is a very positive start but in the long term, I think they should go further and trial quiet carriages on all commuter services, possibly at certain times to allow people who require them the option day to day. I look forward to continuing to work with Irish Rail and As I Am in the coming months to support the start of this pilot scheme and I hope that, if it is to be successful then it could be rolled out further, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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