Northern Ireland

Irish Rail 'knew Malahide viaduct unsafe' - report

Malahide viaduct
Image caption The viaduct collapsed just after a passenger train had passed over it

An independent report into the collapse of a railway bridge near Dublin has found that Irish Rail was warned the structure was unsafe, but did not act.

Tragedy was narrowly avoided in August last year when the Malahide viaduct collapsed moments after a crowded passenger train had just gone over it.

An Irish Rail investigation in March found the bridge collapsed due to erosion at the seabed.

This then undermined a supporting pillar.

Monday's report from the Railway Accident Investigation Unit found that safety inspections at Irish Rail were not adequate, that engineers were not appropriately trained and that although scouring at the base of a pier had been identified in 1997, the company had failed to act.

It is almost one year exactly since the Malahide viaduct collapsed narrowly avoiding major loss of life and causing three months of chaos for commuters on the Belfast-Dublin railway line.

Responding to the report the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said it gave "a detailed and worrying account of the inadequate maintenance and inspection regime".

Irish Rail said it accepts the findings, and that major changes have since been made to ensure passenger safety.