Saturday 16 December 2017

Ticketless senator to appeal €100 train fine

Fidelma Healy-Eames: has
appealed the penalty
Fidelma Healy-Eames: has appealed the penalty
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A senator is facing a €100 fine after getting on to an intercity train without a valid ticket.

Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy-Eames yesterday admitted to being ticketless when boarding the service but said she thought she could buy one on board.

A statement released by the party on her behalf said she was "in a rush" when she boarded the 6.50am train from Athenry to Dublin on Thursday.

She believed that she would be able to buy the ticket, which cost €21.99, while on board and claimed that she had done this previously and on recent occasions.

Shocked

When approached by a Revenue Protection Officer on the Irish Rail service, Ms Healy-Eames was asked for ID and produced her Seanad card.

However, when she offered to buy a ticket from him "as normal", she was informed that this was not possible and she was fined €100.

A statement by Fine Gael said: "Senator Healy-Eames was shocked to learn this as she had purchased two tickets on board just weeks earlier, in June.

"She showed the... officer the counterfoils, which proved that they were both purchased on the train. Senator Healy-Eames has appealed the fine," it added.

A spokesperson for Fine Gael directed the Irish Independent to the Twitter account of a passenger who was sitting near her on the train.

Chris Tierney, who posted a picture of his ticket for the journey, wrote: "She was not abusive, and didn't use the 'do you know who I am' route'."

A spokesman for Irish Rail would not comment on the specifics of Ms Healy-Eames's case, but said that passengers were required to purchase a ticket in advance of boarding a train.

"If there is an opportunity to do so, tickets must be bought before using the service," he said.

He added that there was an appeals process open to any passenger who believed they were treated unfairly.

He could not comment on Ms Healy-Eames's claim that she had previously bought a ticket after boarding the train but repeated that tickets must be bought in advance of boarding.

Ms Healy-Eames did not return phone calls or messages yesterday.

Irish Independent

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