Kilkenny City’s MacDonagh Train Station has been awarded the Age Friendly Transport Award.
The presentation was made at the national Age Friendly Awards ceremony.
Developed through a collaborative effort between Kilkenny County Council, Iarnród Éireann, Age Friendly Ireland and MacDonagh Shopping Centre, the local authority says “This achievement marks a significant milestone in making public transport more accessible and suitable for users across the course of life”.
The local facility was hailed as the pioneer in age-friendly transportation after it underwent a comprehensive World Health Organisation four-stage process to secure its Age Friendly status – it was awarded its charter in November 2022.
Cllr. Michael Doyle, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, emphasised the collaborative success of the project, stating, “This award acknowledges the significant work undertaken by all stakeholders, contributing to improved lives for older people. MacDonagh Train Station exemplifies what can be achieved through collaborative working.”
A pivotal aspect of this initiative involved a Walkability Study, examining station areas, roadways, and bridge access. The subsequent action plan, devised by a dedicated working group, emphasised the importance of age-friendly considerations to enhance the experience for older customers.
A Key feature of this initiative was the introduction of a new walkway connecting the station to the nearby MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre. This not only significantly reduces walking distances but also improves accessibility to shops, local government services, and medical facilities for all users.
Anne Marie Shortall, Age Friendly Programme Manager at Kilkenny County Council, expressed her satisfaction, stating, “MacDonagh Train Station underwent the World Health Organisations process in order to achieve Age Friendly Status. Older people’s confidence is greatly enhanced by the delivery of the safety features such as good lighting, pedestrian crossings, set down areas, and trained staff availability. We are delighted that our collaborative efforts have been recognised with this prestigious award.”
The Strategic Oversight Committee for this Age Friendly project included representatives from Kilkenny County Council, Age Friendly Ireland, Kilkenny Chamber, Iarnród Éireann, the National Transport Authority, the Department of Transport, Kilkenny’s Older Persons Council, and MacDonagh Shopping Centre.
Emmett Cotter, Iarnród Éireann’s Regional Manager for the South East, stated: “We recognise the significance of our senior citizens as valued customers who have contributed immensely to society. Iarnród Éireann is committed to ensuring every train journey is user-friendly and enjoyable for them. We anticipate achieving Age Friendly Ireland recognition at more stations across our network, following the success of MacDonagh Station”.
The improvements at MacDonagh Train Station, outlined in a case study publication by Age Friendly Ireland, include:
The new walkway which links the station with the adjacent MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre
Two Age Friendly car parking spaces
Tactile paving for customers with visual impairment
Newly installed tactile paving pedestrian crossing points
Enhanced wayfinding with painted steps
“Just A Minute” (JAM) signage and staff training
Increased font size on ticket machines
Safety decals on glass doors
Widening of the door to the disability bathroom
Repainting the station interior with a calmer colour
Alterations to kerbs and landscaping for improved access
Minister Malcolm Noonan awarded a Charter to MacDonagh Train Station on November 21, 2022, recognising it as the first Age Friendly Station in Ireland. The station is now acknowledged internationally by the World Health Organization as a model of good practice for Age Friendly stations.