Who we are
The Commission is an independent regulatory body which reports to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
The Commission has a number of major roles.
The National Safety Authority charged with oversight of safety of heavy and light railway organisations operating in the State and the associated infrastructure.
The Regulatory Body ensuring non-discriminatory access to the heavy rail market within the State.
The National Competent Authority for the transport of dangerous goods by rail, cableway installations designed to carry persons and train driver licencing and certification.
As the National Safety Authority, we are charged with the oversight of the heavy and light railway organisations and the associated infrastructure that provided close to 90 million passenger journeys in 2019. Our principal functions as the NSA are to foster and encourage railway safety, to enforce the legislation relating to railway safety and to investigate and report on railway incidents.
Any railway organisation operating in the state must have a safety management system which has passed conformity assessment by the CRR. Similarly, the infrastructure manager must have a safety management system that has passes conformity assessment.
As the Regulatory Body we licence railway organisations, we are the independent monitor of State funded expenditure on the network infrastructure and we oversee the Iarnród Éireann track access allocation and pricing regime and adjudicate on appeals.
The Commission consists of a Commissioner appointed by the Minister as a full-time employee under a fixed term contract. The organisation includes 3 principal inspectors, a head of corporate governance and regulation, 10 inspectors possessing a very broad knowledge of the heavy and light railway sectors and 2 administrative staff.
Similar to some other state bodies, the CRR does not have a non-executive board.
A brief history
Railway safety was supervised by Railway Inspecting Officers of the Department of Transport until 1st January 2006, when the independent Railway Safety Commission (RSC) was established under the Railway Safety Act 2005. It was also acting as competent authority for cableways under SI 470 of 2003. It was designated as a safety authority in EU law under SI 57 of 2008.
The RSC was designated as the competent authority in EU law for train driver licensing and certification under SI 399 of 2010. It was designated as a competent authority in EU law for the purpose of the transport of dangerous goods by rail under SI 651 of 2010. It was also recognised as the competent authority in EU law for the purpose of railway interoperability under SI 419 of 2011.
Changes since 2016.
The RSC became the Commission for Railway Regulation (CRR) on 29th February 2016 following its designation as a regulatory body in EU law under SI 249 of 2015.
In 2016 both the Railway Safety Directive EU 2016/798 and the Interoperability Directive EU 2016/797 were recast in European legislation, and in October 2020 the relevant statutory instruments transposing these Directives came into effect in relation to the functions that the CRR has under European rail legislation. SI 476 2020 transposed Directive EU 2016/798 and SI 477 2020 transposes Directive EU 2016/797.
Also, in 2016 the European Unions adopted Regulation (EU) 2016/424 on cableway installations. SI 543 2020 the European Union (Cableway Installations) Regulations gives effect to this and allocated specific functions to the CRR.