Irish Rail to 'immediately deploy' additional security to Dublin northside services
Irish Rail have promised to increase security on northside Dart services from this evening.
The move comes after Dart drivers threatened to shut down half the line over fears for their safety.
Drivers told the Irish Independent they fear for their lives and have been threatened by gangs at knife point.
They also claim that drugs are peddled openly on trains and stations along the route. They said security staff cannot cope with the attacks, which included the hijacking of a train in Clongriffin last month and a row after a recent Liam Gallagher concert.
They have notified Irish Rail they plan to stop trains travelling across Dublin's northside from Connolly Station to Howth after 7pm on Friday and over the weekend.
In an email to Independent.ie Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny said:
"We have been liaising with drivers and representatives to get their insight on the issues faced from anti-social behaviour and to enhance security at key locations to ensure we maintain a safe environment for customers and staff."
"As a result, on top of previous increases in security patrols, we will immediately be deploying an additional security team on the northside DART from this evening, expanding resources at our remote monitoring centre which covers CCTV across the DART, continuing liaison with Gardai and planning some station modifications to address trespass issues," Mr Kenny added.
Several drivers along the route recounted their stories to the Irish Independent. These include John Curran (53), a Dart driver for 13 years, who said that: "When you go north of Connolly, as far as I'm concerned, you're heading into bandit country and you don't know what's going to happen."
"I've rolled into Harmonstown station and there were 10 or 11 lads on the platform and every single one of them had bandanas and hoodies on. All you could see was eyes.
"I'm intimidated. I start to get stressed. I start to get anxious because I don't know what they are going to do on the train."
Transport Minister Shane Ross's spokesperson said he is looking into the possibility of transport police with the power of arrest, although this would require legislation and extra resources.