Healy Eames to appeal fine for boarding train without ticket
A FINE GAEL Senator is appealing an on-the-spot fine for boarding the Galway to Dublin train without a ticket.
Fidelma Healy Eames yesterday said she was “shocked” to learn she could not purchase tickets on board the train. The Galway West Senator said she had done this only two weeks earlier and had produced counterfoils to prove it.
Details of the incident spread quickly across online forums yesterday and caused much angry reaction, after it was first posted by a user on website Boards.ie.
Anonymous user Captain Darling said he had been on the train. He claimed that when the inspector asked for a ticket Ms Healy Eames said “that she is a Senator and that she makes the law”. “She took bloody strips off him,” the user wrote. Such claims were yesterday denied by a party spokeswoman.
A statement from Fine Gael last night said Ms Healy Eames boarded the 6.50am Dublin train at Athenry station last Thursday “in a rush”. A spokeswoman said the train was early and already in the station when she arrived. She had boarded “on the understanding that she would be able to purchase a ticket on board, as she had previously done on recent occasions”. An inspector from the company’s revenue protection unit asked her for identity, the statement said.
“She produced her Seanad ID card. She offered to buy a ticket as normal. He told her she could not buy a ticket from him and fined her €100,” the statement said.
Last night Ms Healy Eames thanked another witness, Chris Tierney, for giving his “accurate account” on Twitter. Galway photographer Tierney took to the social networking service to counter allegations about her reaction.
“I was on the train next to the Senator; she wasn’t arrogant, didn’t use the ‘do you know who I am’ route,” he tweeted. Mr Tierney told The Irish Times her behaviour could at most be described as “righteous indignation”. The Senator “should have been let away with it” because the train had been early. Although he was not “ideologically aligned” with her, he wanted to “quash a witch hunt”. He tweeted a photo of his ticket to prove he was on the train.
The original post by Captain Darling was later deleted by the user, who declined a request for interview by The Irish Times.
Iarnród Éireann’s website states: “Tickets can only be purchased on the train if the ticket office is closed and if the ticket vending machines are not in operation.”
First elected to the Seanad in 2007, Ms Healy Eames ran for a Dáil seat in the last three general elections.