Irish Rail investigating ‘unauthorised’ leak of Howth Junction video

Rail operator says footage should not have been shared on social media

Irish Rail is investigating how a video of a violent disorder incident at Howth Junction Dart station in Dublin was leaked, saying it had also reported the matter to the Data Protection Commissioner.

The transport company said the footage was not for public consumption and should not have been leaked and then shared on social media. Those people featured in the footage, especially as they are juveniles, may be able to sue for damages over breaches to their privacy.

“Customers have a right to expect that station CCTV is used for their safety and security, and to assist investigations, not to be distributed in an unauthorised manner,” Irish Rail said in reply to queries.

“While our foremost priority is to assist the gardaí in ensuring those responsible are brought to justice, we are also investigating the unauthorised distribution of this footage, and have reported the matter to the Data Protection Commissioner.”


During the disturbance at the station on the night of Thursday, April 1st, a young woman was knocked onto the rail tracks, falling down the gap between a Dart in the station at the time and the platform.

The young woman was pulled up and onto the platform by a staff member, who was aided by the young woman’s friends, and no serious injuries were reported. However, a criminal investigation is underway within the Garda into the attack. Three juveniles, one aged 13 and two aged 16 years, were arrested during searches at five homes on north Dublin last week.

The video of the incident appears to show three boys, who were among a wider group of teenagers, kicking and spitting, or attempting to do so, at a number of young women who ran onto the platform and were trying to get onto the train.

The video of the incident, which was recorded on the CCTV system at the station, emerged recently on social media, prompting widespread public anger and intense media attention.

Criminal investigation

However, while the Garda’s criminal investigation into the attack and disturbance was continuing within the Garda, Irish Rail is also investigating how the video was leaked and distributed publicly. A comment was awaited from the Data Protection Commissioner.

At the time of the incident, at about 9pm on April 1st, a number of girls ran into the station and onto the platform to catch the train before it departed. However, as the girls ran past the teenage boys, one of the boys stretched his foot out into the air and appeared to kick, or attempted to kick, one of the girls in the face.

Another girl appeared to be spat at, in the face, by one of the boys before being hit with the wheel of one of the bikes. A third girl also appeared to be spat at in the face before the wheel of one of the bikes was pushed towards her. She then tripped and fell down the gap between the train and platform.

The Garda searches that took place last Thursday morning and resulted in the arrests of three teenage suspects also involved a number of phones and bikes, as well as clothing, being confiscated by gardaí for examination. The three suspects were released without charge after being questioned, with the investigation ongoing.

While members of the Garda investigation team, based at Raheny Garda station in north Dublin, believe they know the identity of those present, they have appealed to anyone who was on the scene when the incident occurred to come forward.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times