'Shambles' - no-show from Luas security as woman's hair set alight

The incident happened on the Luas Red Line on January 11

Ian Begley

A gang of teenage thugs set fire to a woman's hair during a night of chaos on the Luas Red Line.

Many residents in Dublin's south-central district are said to be afraid to use public transport following almost "daily occurrences" of anti-social behaviour and attacks.

A serious incident was reported on the line on the night of January 11 by the tram's driver while en route to Tallaght.

Luas operator Transdev has apologised for its security's "unsatisfactory" response time after the passenger was attacked.

In another report, the driver said the teenagers responsible were smoking and making racist comments, which prompted him to again call for security.


He said the other passengers on the Luas were "in uproar" during the incident, which took place as the tram travelled from the city centre to Kylemore.

"Passengers were shocked that no security ever responded to this incident on the tram," he said in a complaint logged to the operator.

"Some passengers that were on the tram from The Point to Tallaght never saw a security guard and many advised me they were going to social media about this.

"Passengers heard both my calls to security and the response as they were up against the glass calling for help and couldn't believe what they were hearing."

The driver is now calling for Transdev to employ permanent security for its trams.

"I am embarrassed to work for the company after this lack of support, for myself and the passengers," he added.

"Luas put 'help fight racism' posters up at their platforms, and in 2020 a woman is set alight on a tram and for a 40-minute journey not one security guard was to be seen.

"This needs to change. A Saturday night on public transport and zero security - a shambles.

"Please, can we sort this out so another encounter like this can't happen, or at the very least always have security on the line."

In response, a spokesperson for Transdev acknowledged Luas security was slow in responding to the incident.

"Security was deployed elsewhere on the lines at this particular time and did not board the tram on which the incident occurred quickly enough," the spokesperson said.

"This was not satisfactory and we apologise to Luas customers and those affected.

"Security arrangements are continuously under review and have been recently reassessed, particularly in light of recently publicised incidents of anti-social behaviour involving groups of teens in local communities along the Grand Canal close to Luas stops."

The company said it will continue to review its security and work with local community gardai "with whom we have an excellent working relationship".

One week later, gardai confirmed a youth was arrested for damaging the inside of a Luas Red Line tram in a separate incident.

"Gardai responded to a public order incident on Saturday, January 18, at approximately 5.40pm at the Drimnagh Luas stop on Davitt Road," a spokesperson said.

"Gardai encountered a large group of youths causing a disturbance.

"One juvenile who was in the group was in possession of a metal pole which was being used to damage seating on the Luas tram.

"The juvenile was then arrested."

Ballyfermot and Drimnagh councillor Daithi Doolan told the Herald attacks on and around the Luas happened almost every day.

"I use the Luas here all the time with my kids and am very aware of these serious incidents," he said.

"There's almost a reign of terror that's particularly targeted at foreign nationals.

"I've heard numerous stories about these gangs verbally and physically attacking people on the Luas at Drimnagh and also around the canal.

"If we want to ensure that people can travel safely on public transport, gardai have to be there to protect them and respond accordingly when they are called."

Mr Doolan will be raising the issue today at a council meeting at City Hall.