United in hockey, divided on the railway


Sir, – Regarding Fintan O’Toole’s struggle to buy a train ticket from Dublin to Derry (Weekend Review, August 11th), we citizens of the north west would just like to say, welcome to our world.

We have suffered stoically for years, despite our large population, with the lack of a proper rail service from either network beginning in Dublin or Belfast.

Irish Rail and Translink’s timetables for the north west are simply betwixt and between most people’s needs.

We’ve muddled on with poor motorway infrastructure, and public bus services usually full at the point of departure, yet stopping at seemingly every by-way, resulting in journeys lasting four hours or more from this area to Dublin.

If Flann O’Brien was alive and needed travel from Dublin to his native Tyrone with Irish Rail, he might be happy to have his personality mixed up with a bicycle; it would be a more practical way to get about the place.

O’Toole was offered the option of a web ticket to Skerries when he tried to purchase one for Derry.

The notion that Irish Rail is a service for all people on this island is as absurd and laughable as Brian O’Nolan’s idea of James Joyce working as a bar man in the same village. – Yours, etc,



Co Tyrone.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole asked “. . . how much we currently share the island. Is it as much as the hockey team or merely as much as Irish Rail?”

I suggest this Irish Rail analogy accurately captures the 26-county Irish Republic.

A State where effectively all lines lead to Dublin, the north west is ignored, and the once industrious south east continues to fall further behind due to ongoing government neglect and lack of necessary investment. – Yours, etc,


Dunmore East,

Co Waterford.