Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein MP hits out at 'hovercraft' map of Northern Ireland

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard has hit out at a map used by Irish Rail which blanks out Northern Ireland.

In a caption on the picture of the map posted to his Twitter account, the South Down representative wrote: "You got the new hovercrafts then @IrishRail ?? Catch yourselves on #Ireland".

The Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) map shows routes across the Republic and Northern Ireland with the lines in Northern Ireland appearing on a blanked-out background.

In a comment to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Hazzard said: "I am contacting Iarnrod Eireann which published this map to point out its absurdity."

A spokesman for Irish Rail said the company had worked "through good and bad times" to provide services between Northern Ireland and the Republic, including "the extraordinarily challenging era when sectarian entities repeatedly disrupted and threatened the service with violence".

"The map in question has been used in some shape or form on our network for over a decade without any comment from customers (indeed the map shown in the tweet has our old logo so it’s probably over six years old, hence it’s a bit faded)," the spokesman said.

"The map is of the Iarnrod Eireann network but shows the Translink network also to show customers the Enterprise and connecting Translink services. The different colours merely clearly indicate to customers the IE and Translink networks.

"The Enterprise is jointly operated by Iarnrod Eireann and Translink, IE operate a morning and evening commuter service between Newry and Dublin, and all other services in Northern Ireland are operated by Translink.

"...Our commitment therefore to an all-Island and true cross border and cross community service with our friends and colleagues in Translink is unambiguous based on our record, on which Mr Hazzard in purporting to be offended by a long-standing informational map would do well to reflect."

The network map currently being used by Irish Rail / Credit: Irish Rail

Irish Rail is the operator of the national railway network in Ireland and receives state funding in the Republic.

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