IRISH RAIL has apologised after a group of young people with “sticks and poles” blocked an exit at Howth Junction DART station this week.
Gardaí attended an incident at the station at approximately 8pm on Tuesday evening, where 10 to 15 young people were blocking an exit out of the station and causing a disturbance.
According to a garda spokesperson, “no offences were disclosed”.
Witness and Kilbarrack resident Paul Ryan told Independent.ie that he was passing through the station on his daily commute when he noticed a distressed woman unable to exit the station, as the youths were “holding the door closed”.
He said that the woman, who was very stressed, told him that they “wouldn’t let me leave”.
“I saw the gang of young people and they were armed with sticks and poles and weapons, but I thought they were waiting on somebody else,” he said.
“A girl from the group then approached us through the door and told us to leave through an emergency exit on the side of the entrance.
“But when I tried to force the emergency exit door open, there were people pushing back from the other side.
“I then realised they were watching us through the glass main exit doors, laughing and waving sticks,” he said.
“I don’t know what they wanted but it was very unusual behaviour,” he added.
While Mr Ryan eventually succeeded in getting a lift and exiting the station, he said that he fears as to what would have happened if he opened the door.
“It’s very sinister and hostile behaviour and God only knows what would have happened if I opened that door,” he said.
“It’s frankly disgusting and I was very disappointed with the group, normally young people are very respectful but they were mocking and embarrassing and frankly terrifying a woman on her own on a dark winter’s night, on her way home to her family,” he added.
Mr Ryan also raised concerns that Irish Rail staff were either not present in the station or did not seek to warn commuters of the situation.
Irish Rail has apologised for the incident, saying that the youths were armed with “sticks” as they had collected materials for a Halloween bonfire.
“This was alerted to our on-site security team, who moved them off site as soon as it was reported. We apologise for any upset caused to customers as a result of this incident,” said a spokesperson for Irish Rail.
“We are working with Gardaí and local authorities to identify and remove any materials at or adjacent to rail lines which could potentially be used for Halloween bonfires.
“Howth Junction is manned, and we have a security team in this area in the evenings, who responded as outlined,” the spokesperson added.