Garda management has confirmed that there are currently no plans to set up a dedicated public transport department.
In a statement released this afternoon, An Garda Síochána said: “Will proactively work with transport operators including the National Transport Authority, Irish Rail (DART and InterCity Rail) and Transdev Ireland (Luas) to provide a coordinated Garda presence in public transport to prevent and combat antisocial behavior.
“All incidents reported to An Garda Síochána will be fully investigated, with a proactive arrest policy and prosecution where possible.
“An Garda Síochána is not currently considering setting up a transport police unit.”
It comes as the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) reiterated its call for its own Garda transport department following recent attacks on drivers and passengers on public transport.
Mark Sheehan, 26, celebrated his boyfriend’s birthday at The George nightclub on Dame Street on Sunday night. He was riding the bus home with his friends when a group of younger men got on the bus and began taunting them and using “homophobic slurs”.
Mr Sheehan was later attacked by one of the young men and subsequently spent six hours in the hospital.
NBRU Deputy Secretary General Tom O’Connor said incidents like the one Mr Sheehan described were far too common in bus and rail services.
“We have seen quite a number of incidents across the network in recent weeks, particularly at Bus Éireann and across the rails,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this type of behavior is becoming increasingly violent and leading to serious injuries… Five drivers have been attacked and physically assaulted in the last few weeks. Some of them ended up in the hospital.”
Discussing the details of the five drivers who were recently attacked, Mr O’Connor said the incidents took place at Dublin Airport, Dublin City Centre, Crosshaven Co Cork, Navan Co Meath and Galway.
Speaking of RTÉ Tomorrow IrelandHe said if a fight breaks out or someone is attacked on a bus or train, protocol is for the driver to “not interfere”.
“The directive from the union and the company is that the driver or the employee should not interfere. They’re public transport workers, they’re not bouncers or security guards,” he said.
“That’s why the public transport department in Garda is needed to make people feel safe… 71 percent of journeys are still made by private car. How can we discourage people from switching from their car to public transport if they don’t feel safe? ”
Mr O’Connor said if anyone witnesses an attack they should inform the driver, who can contact central control or the Gardaí directly.
He argued that public order incidents were a “societal problem” and said that although a dedicated Garda division could not oversee all services, the establishment of the unit would still make people “think twice” before committing a crime commit.
“The same hotspots are in Navan, in Limerick, in Cork, on some of the Dublin bus routes – the 27, the 40, the north side of the Dart, we know the interurban routes. The NTA is currently spending billions on Bus Connect Ireland and Dart Plus. All these investments will be wasted if we cannot encourage people to use public transport,” he added.
“The voters, they are obviously fed up with the behavior on the buses. This poor gentleman who was attacked [Mark Sheehan], he is someone’s son. It is no longer a statistic, it is real people who are being hurt out there and the people we elect to Dáil Éireann have a responsibility to put an end to it.”
Meanwhile, independent Dublin City Councilor Nial Ring said he was recently verbally abused on a Dublin bus.
“It was Friday night and a guy got on the bus and he recognized me and he was extremely aggressive to the point that a friend of mine getting off the bus said to the driver, ‘You should call the guards’. ‘ he said to RTÉ Today with Claire Byrne Program.
“To be fair the incident did not escalate but I saw a Garda car pull up behind the bus as I was getting off. I just told the guys there was no problem. I will give credit to the guy who verbally abused me, he wrote to me the following week and was absolutely apologetic.
Speaking on the same programme, Fianna Fáil Dublin TD Jim O’Callaghan said his party wanted to see the introduction of a public transport pilot in Garda.
“We had very helpful discussions with NBRU. They told us that at certain times of the day and evening there are a number of high-risk, high-profile routes that you would particularly aim for,” he said.
“You wouldn’t need a large number of gardaí, we want it to be piloted first and let’s target a number of routes just to give travelers a sense of security and comfort on those routes they are day and.” night on the way.”
However, Councilor Ring said, despite his recent experience, he believes there should be more Gardaí on the streets and not on public transport.
“I don’t think it’s a good use of Garda resources if they’re on a Luas,” he added.
https://www.independent.ie/news/gardai-are-not-considering-the-establishment-of-a-transport-police-unit-41917608.html Gardaí ‘not considering establishing a transport police unit’