News Irish News

Sunday 22 September 2019

Rail drivers threaten to pull services after attack

Stock image
Stock image

Anne-Marie Walsh

Bus and rail drivers may pull services in anti-social hotspots following the latest serious assault on the Dart.

The leader of a major transport union has warned Transport Minister Shane Ross and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan of possible service disruption after the stabbing of a teenager on Dublin's northside on Tuesday night.

A man was arrested following the incident at around 10.15pm between the Killester and Harmonstown stations.

General secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) Dermot O'Leary said anti-social behaviour and thuggery have reached crisis point.

He said it may only be a matter of time before staff are forced to take "preventative measures". This would include an assessment of services provided at "certain times and locations".

The union has written to the two ministers seeking their immediate commitment to set up a Garda public transport division.

"The safety of commuters and staff would be paramount in such a review," he said.

He said it seems that a week does not go by without another headline appearing across various media platforms highlighting yet another assault on the public transport system.

"Last Tuesday's serious incident on an Iarnród Éireann service between Killester and Harmonstown may serve to be a watershed moment in the ongoing debate on the issue of anti-social behaviour and outright thuggery on transport services," he said.

"It has reached crisis point.

"The mood among transport workers has changed dramatically on the back of a number of recent assaults across both our train and bus services," he said.

"Whilst they were encouraged by the minister's initial response in early summer, they are now of the view that they may have to take their own preventative measures, inclusive of assessing service provision in particular hotspots and in areas with a high prevalence of anti-social behaviour."

He said there were over 1,000 anti-social incidents logged by Irish Rail between January last year and June this year.

In June, Dart drivers threatened to stop trains travelling through the northside from Connolly Station to Howth after 7pm on Fridays and the weekend following a series of attacks.

They described the line north of Connolly as bandit country. But they abandoned the plan after Irish Rail increased security.

A train was hijacked in Clongriffin earlier this year, and Dart services were delayed after chaos on trains following a Liam Gallagher concert and an assault at Connolly Station.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News