Garda public transport unit urgently needed, union says – The Irish Times

The traveling public urgently needs a permanent and dedicated Garda public transport unit, the National Bus & Rail Union (NBRU) has said.

Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, said it seems ‘not a day goes by that another assault does not occur on our public transport system’.

Mr O’Leary was speaking after a man (26) was assaulted and injured while on a late night bus in Dublin city early on Sunday in a suspected homophobic attack.

Mr O’Leary said that although there has been a lot of support from politicians across the political spectrum for the need for such a Garda unit, “they have not yet legislated for its creation. “.

“Apart from the absolute need to ensure there are consequences for these hoodlums who are wreaking havoc on various modes of transport, the trend to encourage increased public transport will wane,” Mr O’ said. Leary.

“It comes at a time when the government’s own climate action plan contains proposals to increase daily travel by 500,000 by 2030.

‘The kind of viciousness seen in the assault on an innocent passenger last Saturday night on the Dublin bus would hardly encourage more of our fellow citizens to migrate to public transport,’ Mr O’Leary said.

“It’s been a long time since our politicians acted on their own words of support and decided to create a dedicated Garda public transport division.”

Mark Sheehan, from south-west Dublin, was out last Saturday night at George nightclub in Dame Street with three friends, celebrating two of their birthdays. While returning late at night with his friends by bus, Mr Sheehan was attacked by a young man on the bus, after being called “f****t” by a group of men.

Former Garda Deputy Commissioner Pat Leahy supports the creation of a dedicated transport policing division.

The establishment of such a unit should be considered and aligned with efforts to encourage more people to use public transport, he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne programme.

Anti-social behavior on public transport was a long-standing problem, but existing Garda resources could not expand to include a transport division and a dedicated transport unit would have to be funded separately, he said. .

Mr Leahy said his preference was for a separate transport police force with enforcement powers and access to detention centers and the justice system.

Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart said he was tired of waiting for the government to set up a dedicated service.

“What we need is dedicated transport policing, so that you and I – or anyone of any age, gender or race – are open to the possibility, a random possibility, that he may have a Garda on board.”

Mr Lahart said private security companies, such as those used on the Luas or Irish Rail, were not the answer. “They don’t have the power to detain and arrest like the gardaí do. airport police [also] have these powers,” he added.

“In London they have the London Transport Police, and in other cities they . . . have the same powers as the gardaí, to detain and arrest. “What [is] is going to happen is a decline in public transport user confidence. This needs to stop,” Mr. Lahart said.

Sinn Féin justice spokesman Martin Kenny said the alleged homophobic attack at the weekend was “deeply concerning”.

“The fact that this attack happened on a Dublin bus underscores once again the need for a transport policing system to be established,” he said.

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