Tuesday 23 July 2019

'He should have been kicked off' - Passengers slam Irish Rail security over racial abuse on train

The incident took place on Sunday's 7.05pm train from Belfast to Dublin

Prasun Bhattachjee was travelling to Dublin on holiday with his parents (Photo: RTE Radio One)
Prasun Bhattachjee was travelling to Dublin on holiday with his parents (Photo: RTE Radio One)
Stock picture
Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Callum Lavery

Irish Rail did not do enough to remove a racially abusive Traveller, passengers on the service have claimed.

Indian man, Prasun Bhattachjee, told RTE Radio 1's Liveline with Joe Duffy that he, and his elderly parents were racially abused while on the 7.05pm Enterprise train from Belfast to Dublin.

According to Mr Bhattachjee, a drunk man abused the family for over an hour, while he claims Irish Rail security did little to intervene.

"One person who was on the same coach, abused us for our skin colour, our nationality, all those things," said Mr Bhattachjee.

"We felt so bad. He sat beside us after boarding and and he was drunk I think.

"He didn’t stop, he remained there up to Dublin, saying 'why don’t you know English, why have you come here, you should’t have come here."

Prasun Bhattachjee was travelling to Dublin on holiday with his parents (Photo: RTE Radio One)

On the show today, another passenger on train where the incident occurred, Emma Gorman, shared a recording she took of the man harassing the family.

In it, the man can be heard shouting abuse at the family such as "Go back to Pakistan, no one has the b*lls to f*cking say it," and "You live under Irish rules or else f*ck off back home."

According to Emma, her family contacted security on board but they did not remove the man.

"One of my relatives contacted security, they were on the next carriage and they came down and started walking around with him.

"He was walking up and down the carriage, and he went to the toilet with the door open.

"They followed him and stood with him for maybe a few minutes and told him to sit down. After he sat down they left and he got back up and started up again," she claimed.

"When my Ma actually approached one of the security staff that was talking to him on the train he said ‘well he was well behaved when we were with him.’

"We expected him to be kicked off the train at Drogheda because that was the next stop and the security knew that he was a problem.

"That’s where we were expecting him to be taken off the train but there wasn’t that much intervention to be honest.

"We were actually quite frightened of this man, it’s hard to know now a days if somebody is going to punch you or stab you.

"I don’t think it should be up to passengers to risk their own safety."

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Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Former Carrick-on-Shannon Station Master, Tommy Philips told Liveline that he instances of anti social behaviour on-board is on the rise.

"This has been going on for the past two years, but nothing seems to be being done about it," he claimed.

"When I joined the railways, and all through my career of 40 years, it wasn’t a common occurrence.

"If a person was drunk they wouldn’t have been allowed to join the train for their own safety as well as everyone else’s.

There is either no staff, or the staff isn’t properly trained.

Responding to the allegations Irish rail said that security did, in fact intervene and that efforts were being made to recruit more on board staff in hopes of lowering anti-socail behaviour.

"There were two staff members on-board this service and they did arrange for security to escort the person from the station when the train arrived at Connolly," said a spokesperson.

"Every station where the Enterprise Service stops has staff at the station so that argument is irrelevant.

"On the wider issue of staffing. We are in the process of introducing Onboard Customer Service Agents all of our Intercity trains. Previous to this there were only Customer Service presence on Cork and Belfast services.

"Their role is to assist customers on board with any queries they may have,  helping customers find their pre-booked seats, keep customers informed if delays occur and act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour," they concluded.


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