air of menace | 

Shocking Dublin Airport brawl shows need for dedicated transport police, TD claims

The fight, which was captured on video and widely circulated on social media, shows how a brawl broke out between two men in the airport

Niall Donald

Recent outbreaks of violence in Dublin Airport and on trains shows that Ireland needs a dedicated transport police force, a Fianna Fail TD has claimed.

Dáil Justice Committee chair James Lawless claimed the public no longer feel safe on public transport and there is often an "air of menace" on buses and trains.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Deputy Lawless said recent violent incidents at Dublin Airport highlight the need for the government to take action.

“Our public spaces have become places where people don’t feel comfortable and don’t always feel safe,” he said.

“In the last couple of years and particularly I think since the pandemic, we’ve seen they are places that sometimes there can be an air of menace – not always but very often.

“Even on the way home on the train last night, there was people playing music in the carriage and there was an air of cannabis smoke hanging around.

He added: “Many people have said they have seen people intoxicated on public transport, and I’m not talking about the ‘drinklink’ or the Nitelink home at 3am – I’m talking about 3pm in the afternoon.”

Last month, a man in his 20s was arrested and another received treatment in Beaumont Hospital following a fight in a busy Dublin Airport terminal.

The incident, which was captured on video and widely circulated on social media, shows how a brawl broke out between two men before others became involved.

Initially, the two men are separated in attempts to break up the fight but they clash once again and begin fighting with men standing around them looking on.

Dáil justice committee chairman James Lawless. Photo: TBurke

One man is then attacked by a third man from behind and falls to the ground before he is kicked in the head and has his head repeatedly stamped on before he is dragged away from the scene of the fight by onlookers.

Deputy Lawless claimed the outbreaks of violence on public transport have worsened since the end of the lockdown.

“During COVID when people were, sort of, off the train and the trams, most law-abiding citizens stayed at home,” he said.

“They were under lockdown and they followed the rules.

“Perhaps those less law-abiding citizens had free reign. They expanded into those spaces and haven’t really left them in the same way. Maybe they feel a bit enabled because they’ve had that free run for a couple of years.”

The Fianna Fail TD said he believes the new transport police could be a division of the Gardaí or a separate State force.

“A separate force might be no harm because it would stop officers being pulled away to other stations,” he said.

“They shouldn’t be seen as movable units in the wider force. They should be seen as a dedicated transport body.”

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