'generally stable' | 

NTA rejects calls for public transport police despite spate of violent incidents

Yesterday the National Bus and Rail Workers Union called for dedicated security following a number of recent assaults on staff and passengers.

Mark Sheehan was injured in an attack on Dublin Bus this week

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

The National Transport Authority has said it does not believe there is a need for a dedicated policing unit on public transport as the overall level of anti-social behaviour is "generally stable".

Yesterday the National Bus and Rail Workers Union called for dedicated security following a number of recent assaults on staff and passengers.

Just this week one young Dublin man was injured in an unprovoked attack on a Dublin Bus.

Mark Sheehan (26) recounted his ordeal in a series of tweets that reveal how he was returning from a night out with friends in the early hours of Sunday morning when he was headbutted by another passenger.

And earlier this month a 29-year-old man was set upon by up to 10 young males and badly beaten at the Luas stop on George's Dock.

A spokesperson for the National Transport Authority said that while incidents take place from time to time, according to a 2021 customer satisfaction report most passengers feel safe on board.

According to the NTA, the vast majority of the 240,000,000 bus, tram and train journeys every year are completed without any problem.

And as for a distinct policing unit for transport, the NTA said it believes the current approach of transport operators working closely with An Garda Síochána is the best option.

A briefing from the authority in May found that while the overall level of anti-social behaviour on public transport is "generally stable", it remains a "constant operational concern".

However, NBRU Assistant General Secretary Tom O'Connor said that both passengers and staff are suffering abuse and assault on public transport.

He said a garda public transport division is needed and the establishment of a "fully funded dedicated public transport division" is the "only option" to make public transport safe.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said people should feel safe on public transport but a decision on a dedicated police unit is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and not the Government.

He added that there needs to be an increased garda presence at bus and train stations and also increased security should be provided by the transport companies.

However, An Garda Síochána said it is not considering the establishment of a transport police unit at the moment.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said a command control centre is being opened at Heuston Station to provide a direct link with transport authorities.


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