Zoran and Bronagh Curtin, with pet dog Katie, aboard the Luas in Dublin. Damien Eagers
IT'S A dog's life for little Katie, who can now travel on the Luas thanks to a government minister. Her owners have got the ban on dogs travelling on the Luas trams overturned, the Irish Independent has learned, following an intervention by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
Bronagh and Zoran Curtin, from Milltown on Dublin's southside, were told their pet dog Katie -- a Jack Russel terrier cross -- could not travel on the Luas because of a by-law. Only guide dogs are allowed on the trams, they were told.
The couple complained to the Luas operators but were told the ban on Katie travelling on the Bride's Glen to St Stephen's Green route would remain in place.
Undeterred they contacted Mr Varadkar, who raised the issue with the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), and the longstanding rules were changed. Katie can now use the Luas, as can other small dogs in appropriate dog carriers.
In a letter to the couple, RPA chief executive Frank Allen said the restrictions related to hygiene concerns "and the risk of pets frightening other passengers".
"However, in response to your request. . . we will authorise Luas customer service officers to allow carriage of small pets in appropriate carriers."
Mr Allen urged Ms Curtin to carry his letter with her every time they are bringing their dog on to the Luas.
He added: "It is difficult to define precisely what is meant by a 'small dog' or what would be frightening to other passengers, so Luas staff will continue to exercise discretion in deciding what is permitted on trams."
Expressing delight at the decision, Mrs Curtin (37) said: "We can now bring Katie on the Luas to go to the vet or for walks in the Phoenix Park or in other parks.
"We are now trying to get Irish Ferries to allow foot passengers carry on dogs.
"At the moment this only applies to people with cars who then bring the dogs to a specially allocated room."