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Ministers celebrate 10 years of the Luas by eating cake and listening to gospel music

As you do…

HOW DOES ONE celebrate the 10th birthday of a tram?

A massive cake that looks like a Luas goes without saying.

But the bakers really excelled themselves today as crowds gathered in Stephen’s Green for an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the ‘Daniel Day’:

So you’ve got the cake, but you’ll probably need a celebrity as well.

Meet Eddie Byrne, the man who drove the first Luas from Sandyford to Stephen’s Green in 2004 and who now trains other drivers.

Okay, he’s not Beyoncé, but he’s kind of a big deal in Luas circles. So much of a big deal that he gets a big hat:

Byrne “can’t believe” the decade has gone so fast.

“Ten years? Good Lord,” he said. “The first day we started off and it was a wonderful day and people were asking me: ‘How do you I think it will go?’ And I of course said it would be a success.”

He was right. Luas carried over 30 million passengers last year and the green and red lines are set to link up with the Cross City project on track (ahem) for delivery in 2017.

Of course no celebration is complete without a bit of music and with that along came the Dublin Gospel Choir who serenaded the tram with ‘Happy Birthday’.

As you do:

But that wasn’t all the choir ladies and man had in their locker:

Of course no celebration of a public service is complete without a government minister just to underline how important it all is.

But so important is the Luas that it got two ministers, shade-wearing Leo Varadkar and the shadeless Alan Kelly:

It was soon time for the customary photo-op of ministers posing and cutting the cake:

Normally there’s very little actual cake eating happening at these things but poor Leo had a late one at Arcade Fire last night – although he’s more a fan of The Pixies – and only managed a bit of porridge in the car.

So he dug in to the big cake:

Soon Kelly was joining him as the snappers continued snapping.

But what does it taste like? Fortunately Leo was in generous mood for the hungry journalists:

The minister had a brief chat with Eddie Byrne before someone came around to give out cupcakes:

Then there were a few words for the media.

Varadkar declared this “a very proud day” as the tram celebrates ten years in operation and, as he points out, takes no government subsidy.

“The whole point of public transport is getting people out of their cars,” the minister said, dismissing suggestions that it’s had a negative impact on Dublin Bus.

Alan Kelly also said a few words opening with: “It’s a fabulous day.” Then he gazed up at the sky and added: “It is a fabulous day.”

Cake, gospel music and sunshine. What more could you want?

STOP! Luas operators urge drivers to halt at red lights as tram collisions rise

Read: There was some pretty awkward canvassing at the Stephen’s Green Luas stop this morning

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