“nothing short of a miracle that the collapse did not result in a serious accident..”

As the BBC report states, Iarnród Éireann are predicting that “the line across the estuary [at Malahide] will not reopen for at least three months” following the collapse of the viaduct on Friday. Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that the viaduct “was inspected by a structural engineer three days earlier [Tuesday] after fears that it might have been damaged during the ‘high-rainfall summer'”.

While all railway bridges receive a full structural survey every two years, the viaduct over the estuary between Malahide and Donabate in north Dublin was checked on Tuesday, several months before its scheduled inspection. The viaduct’s last full examination was in 2007. The inspection suggested that there were no serious structural flaws with the bridge, the company said yesterday. An Irish Rail official also walked across the bridge on Friday morning to do a routine track inspection. “The line is walked three times a week but the focus is on the track,” said Barry Kenny, an Irish Rail spokesman. “If there was noticeable damage to the bridge, it may have been below the waterline at that stage of the day.”