I beg to move:
"That the Seanad requests the Government to improve the accommodation on Dún Laoghaire Pier for passengers crossing from Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead and vice versa.”
I have raised this subject before, and I shall raise it again, because the accommodation on the pier at Kingstown is inadequate. On February the 13th my wife crossed from Holyhead to Kingstown, coming from Euston, and the mail packet arrived at 5.30, rather before the scheduled time. There was a large mail on board. There were no porters to carry the passengers' luggage on the pier. The first train was missed, the second train was missed, and finally my wife and other ladies managed to get to Dublin by the third train. I think I am right there. During this long wait the only seats available for those ladies and others who had suffered in the same way was the ricketty table on which the Customs authorities examine our luggage. That is a table on trestles, and is not a pleasant one to sit on. As I said before, the crossing was a rough one. There was a hymn sung in my parish two Sundays ago which reminded me very much of what happened there on that particular winter morning:
"Calm amidst tumultuous motion and with wonder
They, on toils and dangers past——"
In the last verse is—
"Trouble ceases on that tranquil happy shore——"
The happy shore in the hymn is heaven, but Kingstown Pier is very far from heaven. After a rough passage it may be a haven, but not a haven of rest. To continue, Sir, this winter journey, the railway carriages in which the passengers are carried to Dublin may be described as Methusalean. They are exactly the same as my grand-parents sat in, or must have sat in.
The first-class is furnished with red plush, much worn, of an early Victorian stuff that is indescribable. The third-class is best left to the imagination. I have travelled in them very often. I admit that some new carriages have been made, but you must understand my meaning in regard to the third class. Imagine yourself, a bad sailor, after a bad crossing, and feeling for all the world like a worm on a vermifuged golf-link. I cannot imagine anything that describes it better. I have read the pamphlet that Senator Sir T. Esmonde has circulated. He is chairman of the Dublin and South Eastern Railway Company. I am very sorry to see that he is not in his seat. He says, on page 14, "The directors have in mind only two interests—the interests of the community served by our line, and the interests of our own stockholders." That is to say, the interests of the community, comprising the public and ourselves. The truth of it is that we are so accustomed in this country, in passing to and fro from Holyhead to Kingstown, and Kingstown to Holyhead, and doing it with the utmost discomfort, that we really do not take any notice of it.
Since I spoke last something has been done, and I went down yesterday in my motor to see what had been done. There has been erected what may be described as a cow-shed, or, rather, a shed that you would not put up for bullocks to protect them against the stormy winds that blow in our beloved country. Somebody may ask: "What do you want done?" I will tell you exactly what I want done. There is no reason why, at the end of that shed that I have described a door should not be fixed which would open inwards, and when the wind blows from the east, that door should be shut after the passengers have passed in to have their luggage examined, and vice-versa on the other side. I may say in passing that it was a most lovely day, without a breath of wind on the sea. You could hardly imagine that Kingstown Pier could be such a disagreeable place on a winter's morning. There is at the other end what I might describe as a calf-shed. When you put up a shed for calves you put up a shelter at the end of it, and that shelter is there. I do not think it is for passengers; I believe it is for the porters and the other officials, because I am told by my wife that she was ushered into the shed I have described, and not into this shed. That is a very nice corner to shelter in. There are no seats anywhere. This is the journey. The passengers arrive a little before 5.30, and it took exactly two hours to get to the Hibernian Hotel, where my wife was putting up. Now, that is perfectly ridiculous. Why, you could ride there on a bicycle in that time. A smart runner might get there in the time, and certainly in one of these Dublin four-wheeled cabs you could get there much quicker. I have been asked to tell a story of what happened to myself. You will hardly believe it. I have told this to some members of the Seanad, and I should like to tell it to you, Sir, and the Seanad.