End of the line for drink after the 1pm Galway train joins booze ban list
IRISH Rail customers will have alcoholic drinks confiscated on a train service after complaints about anti-social behaviour.
The action will immediately come into force on Sundays on the 1pm train from Galway to Heuston Station in Dublin, and catering staff will no longer sell alcohol on board.
Customers boarding the service with alcohol will have it taken away by Irish Rail staff.
Details of the ban will be displayed at stations, and customers booking online will also be notified during the reservation process.
It comes in addition to the 'alcohol-free' services operated on certain weekend routes, including the 1.15pm and 3.15pm services from Heuston Station to Waterford on Fridays, and the 3.05pm service from Waterford to Heuston Station on Sundays.
An Irish Rail spokesperson told the Irish Independent the decision had been made following a "high number" of complaints about anti-social behaviour on the train.
"The vast majority of customers who wish to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on board our services do so without impacting in any way on their fellow passengers.
"Unfortunately, there is a minority that do over-indulge, particularly those travelling in large groups such as stag and hen parties, who can disrupt others in a negative way."
This type of behaviour was most common during weekend services, when customers may be going away for or returning from weekend breaks, Irish Rail said.
"It is a measure we take reluctantly, but we must act when our customers are regularly having their journeys disturbed by a minority."
The spokesperson confirmed that the measure would be imposed for the "foreseeable future" and, as with all routes, would continue to be monitored for anti-social behaviour.
Irish Rail said said there were no plans at present to introduce the ban on other routes.
Irish Rail also deploys security staff on a number of routes known to play host to anti-social behaviour, including the aforementioned services between Waterford and Heuston Station and from Heuston Station to Galway on Friday afternoons.
It also prohibits the possession or sale of alcohol on some trains on major GAA match days.
Fionnuala Sheahan, director of Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society (MEAS)said that for years Irish people had given social permission for people who drink too much to participate in anti-social behaviour, and that this was a clear message that Irish Rail "has had enough".
Some 38.8 million passengers travelled with Irish Rail in 2009, down from 43.3 million passengers in the previous year.