Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (587, 588)

Joan Burton

Question:

587. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the rise in anti-social behaviour such as intimidation, vandalism, assault and theft on Irish Rail, Luas and Dublin Bus services; his plans to address same; his further plans to increase safety measures on public transport more generally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22003/19]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

588. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the issue of anti-social behaviour on DART services will be addressed, particularly in the evening and at night-time; his views on whether the level of anti-social behaviour warrants examining practices in other countries, such as transport police; and the way in which he will address the issue for DART users, particularly on northbound services. [22036/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 587 and 588 together.

The safety and security of public transport passengers and staff, including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour, are important matters that, first and foremost, must be managed by every public transport company, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána where appropriate.

While the vast majority of public transport passenger journeys occur without incident, I am concerned to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of all passengers and staff travelling and working on our bus and rail networks. 

Following representations from the National Bus and Rail Union seeking the establishment of a dedicated police force for public transport, my Department wrote to Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus to seek their views on the issue of anti-social behaviour and ensuring the safety of both passengers and staff.  All companies stressed the strong and close working relationships with An Garda Síochána.   

I also wrote to Minister for Justice to get his views on how we can address the issue of anti-social behaviour on our public transport system.  I understand that Minister Flanagan is liaising with An Garda Síochána on the matter.

The allocation of all Garda resources, including the manner in which Garda personnel are deployed, is solely a decision for the Garda Commissioner and his management team.

I understand that An Garda Síochána has also met with the Railway Safety Advisory Council (RSAC) in relation to the issue of anti-social behaviour on our public transport network and that further engagement and initiatives are planned.

Irish Rail has also advised that it has undertaken a range of measures and proposes further measures to address anti-social behaviour on the rail network including increased security personnel, the introduction of Customer Service Officers on all Intercity routes and enhanced CCTV coverage.  A new text alert service will also be introduced in the coming weeks to enable customers to discretely report anti-social behaviour incidents and allow security personnel and/or Gardaí to be alerted and dispatched as required to an incident.