A poster campaign calling for "more crime on public transport" has been slammed by the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) for encouraging anti-social behaviour.
Posters promoting the An Post Irish Book Awards, which will be presented next Tuesday, can be seen on a Dublin Bus and Irish Rail.
One poster, which includes the line "we want more crime on public transport", has drawn fire from the NBRU, which has been campaigning for extra policing on trains and buses.
Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, described the campaign as "irresponsible" and said staff and passengers had already reported an increase in attacks.
"I'm dumbfounded, and I think it's grossly irresponsible for a state company to engage in advertising campaigns of this nature," he said. "Only last week we were issuing 50,000 leaflets and calling for measures to protect public transport workers from anti-social behaviour.
"We're heading into the so-called party season and it doesn't take much for people who want to engage in high jinks and anti-social behaviour.
An Post, which sponsors the awards, said it had no intention of withdrawing the posters and argued that they were designed to be "provocative".
"Yes, we certainly chose quite a provocative series of calls to action to integrate books and reading in all our daily lives," a spokesperson said.
"But it's certainly not condoning crime in any form on public transport. It's not meant to be taken literally.
"In similar vein, we have also called for 'More commu- ters missing their stop', 'More minds altered in coffee shops' and 'More torches under duvets'."
Barry Kenny, of the CIE group, which includes Irish Rail and Dublin Bus, said an external media company was responsible for marketing and managing advertising spaces on their properties.
"We appreciate the concern such a phrase may cause among employees and customers who may have experienced anti- social behaviour on board our services," he said.
"We will ensure Exterion Media are advised of these concerns."