The bus driver shares the agony of the rape threat amid the union’s call for a dedicated transport police force

A bus driver who was threatened with rape says the worst impact she suffered was feeling like “even your rescuers can’t save you”.

The driver described one of her worst nights at work when she was confronted by gangs of teenagers on a night bus route between Cork City and Carrigaline.

“I’m really nervous,” she told delegates at the biannual National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) conference in Cork, as she took to the podium yesterday. “I started (as usual) full of joy and very bubbly, but unfortunately the situation did not continue normally.”

The bus driver was picking up a group of teenagers and taking them to Carrigaline as she said “hell had come upon her” on Halloween night in 2019. Some refused to pay. Once a group blocked the bus standing with alcoholic drinks in hand.

“It escalated into a nightmare,” said the driver, who is originally from Romania. “I was racially, verbally and psychologically abused for about 20 minutes.

“They have been making threats in every way imaginable. I was threatened that I would be raped, that I would be persecuted, that they would hurt my family. It was really scary.

“It had a huge impact on my mental health. It changed me, who I am. I can’t say I can be the same body I was before and it will stay with me forever.

“The biggest impact it had on me was that even as I pushed the button and expected help to come, even after the guards, the people who are supposed to save you and make you feel safe, even after they got there. nothing has happened.

“They were also verbally abused. So my mental impact was so hard that even the rescuers can’t save her.”

Other delegates shared their experiences including Darren Carroll, a darts driver from Bray. He recalled a colleague being given a “terrible hiding place” from graffiti artists. An ambulance crew said they couldn’t take him, he said, because there were more important emergencies. At one point, his colleague broke down crying, he said. “He just wanted to go home to his wife and kids.”

Antoinette Cunningham, general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, supported the NBRU’s calls for its own transport police force.

She said a special unit would not have to pull Gardaí away from other jobs. Ms Cunningham said there are massive recruitment problems at An Garda Síochána and the numbers hired do not match the numbers who are retiring.

Damien McCarthy, of the Garda Representative Association, said the solution to the problem was to adopt more Gardaí.

He said the government said 15,000 gardaí were needed but the force is well under 11,000.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan said he regretted that a unit to deal with antisocial behavior was not included in the government program and said the issue was a growing political issue. He said a poll to be released soon shows overwhelming public support for the establishment of a special transport police unit. The bus driver shares the agony of the rape threat amid the union’s call for a dedicated transport police force

Fry Electronics Team

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