Iarnród Éireann has called on motorists to be more vigilant at level crossings.

The company recorded 24 serious incidents across the network last year, where drivers had to make emergency stops at manually operated crossings.

In many instances, gates are being left open, exposing the track to other vehicles or pedestrians.

Iarnród Éireann said a quarter of last year's Category One incidents, where an emergency stop was required, happened at Kilnageer Level Crossing, near Castlebar in Co Mayo.

Rail staff and members of the Garda Traffic Corps stopped motorists at the crossing this morning to inform them of the dangers of not closing gates behind them.

Iarnród Éireann Infrastructure Manager John O'Brien said the number of "near misses" meant steps had to be taken to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving tracks exposed to vehicles or pedestrians.

There are over 1,000 unmanned crossings on public roads and private lands across Ireland.