There will be no catering service on trains for an “extended period of time”, according to Irish Rail.
The train service has not been serving food and drinks on-board since the pandemic began.
COVID restrictions on pubic transport ended back in February; however, the on-board catering service has yet to return in the Republic.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny said the catering company is having problems getting staff – and the service won’t be returning in the near future.
“It’s proving challenging,” he said. “I think anybody who is in the catering and hospitality industry would know about the issues of staffing.
“This is a company where, obviously, the vast majority of its staff went elsewhere during a two-year period when there was no work, so I don’t have a date in terms of it being restored.
“We’re engaging with them but the unfortunate thing is we are looking at a potentially extended period of time where we won’t have on-board catering.”
He said Irish Rail is working on renewed contract with the company and hopes to be able to confirm a date for the return of catering “reasonably quickly”.
Even then however, he said customers should be prepared for an extended period with no on-board snacks.
Mr Kenny noted that customers can bring their own food and drink on-board and said Irish Rail was working to increase the number of shops and catering services in stations.
“But you know, we all love to grab the tea or the coffee and the snack on bard and we know that convenience is something the customers want so we will work to get it back as quickly as we can, but I don’t want to overpromise here, it is going to be a bit of a gap,” he said.
Asked whether Irish Rail could simply provide the service directly, Mr Kenny said it would end up facing the same challenges in terms of finding staff.