NBRU says nearly 1,000 anti-social incidents on Dublin Bus services
Most incidents concentrated in about ‘half a dozen hotspots’ around the city
The NBRU has said those who engaged in anti-social behaviour “were operating across public transport with impunity”. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
There have been nearly 1,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour on Dublin Bus services this year, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) has said.
In a letter to Minister for Transport Shane Ross, the union said most of these incidents were concentrated in about “half a dozen hotspots” around the city. It is understood that these include Tallaght, Neilstown, Clondalkin, Finglas and Ballymun.
NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said that Dublin Bus had some 2,500 employees and that “no other occupation would tolerate such levels of anti-social behaviour in their workplaces”. He said those who engaged in anti-social behaviour “were operating across public transport with impunity”.
He said those who engaged in anti-social behaviour “were operating across public transport with impunity”.
The letter strongly criticised the recent decision by Garda authorities not to set up a dedicated transport policing unit to deal with anti-social behaviour.
Mr O’Leary said there had been nearly 90 incidents of anti-social behaviour on Bus Éireann services, including a number of serious assaults on drivers.
“We even had a situation where an unfortunate Bus Éireann driver found himself having to retire rather than face going back behind the wheel of a bus”, he said.
“A driver was seriously assaulted in Naas, yet the perpetrator only received a two-month jail term. Mandatory minimum sentences for attacks on frontline workers is within the remit of the legislative body of which you are a member,” Mr O’Leary told the Minister in the letter.
He also said it had been reported that there had been a 43 per cent increase in anti-social behaviour on the rail network over the last two years.
Mr O’Leary said he did not want to be a position “where a serious incident or worse has me castigating both your office and the Government for not acting sooner”.
Mr O’Leary noted that the Minister had told the Dáil the deployment of policing resources was a matter for the Garda Commissioner, as was whether or not to establish a transport policing unit.
He said the NBRU would argue that as the shareholder of the State-owned CIÉ transport group of companies, the Minister has a responsibility to ensure that staff could fulfil their duties safely.
“Merely acting as a facilitator to report on individual company statistics and to act as a courier to convey a message from the Garda Commissioner does not, I would respectfully suggest, reflect the gravitas of your office and all the successes you as Minister have enjoyed since you assumed the transport brief.”
Mr O’Leary said the NBRU noted Mr Ross had managed to secure the re-opening of his local Garda station at Stepaside in south Dublin “against, it would appear, the wishes of senior gardaí”.
The Irish Times reported last month that Garda authorities believed that Garda authorities believed that “effective local community policing efforts can meet the policing needs of the rail network and its stakeholders”.
Dublin Bus has been contacted for a comment.