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A file photo of a Dart train.

Over 200 Dart carriages vandalised since January at a cost of over €500k

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell has called for a dedicated transport police to tackle rising incidents of anti-social behaviour.

OVER 200 DART carriages have been vandalised since the start of the year at a cost of over €500,000, according to Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell.

Farrell has called for a dedicated unit within An Garda Síochána to tackle rising incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism on public transport. 

According to figures from Irish Rail released to Farrell, 211 Dart carriages have been vandalised since January, with cleaning and repair costs ammounting to a total of €516,000. 

Graffiti along with vandalism is said to be a “constant problem” on the Dart trains.

Bus Éireann has also reported a rise in “incidents of malicious damage”, with 80 incidents occurring in the first nine months of the year compared to 43 in the same period last year. 

Deputy Farrell, who represents Dublin Fingal, said the data “demonstrates the need for high visibility policing to ensure the safety of passengers and staff on trains and buses”.

“High visibility policing on our public transport will send a clear and unequivocal message, that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and perpetrators will face consequences for their actions,” he said. 

Additionally, Irish Rail said that passengers sent 71 texts to its text alert system from January to September. 50 texts were from Dart users while the other 21 texts were reported on commuter train services.

22 passengers reported youths causing disturbances, while 27 reports related to the use of drink, drugs and smoking on trains.

Nine reported harassments and five reported aggressive behaviour and verbal abuse.

Other cases related to attempted theft, vandalism and social distancing and mask wearing concerns.

“As a regular Dart user, I have witnessed this anti-social behaviour, including young male Dart users making threatening comments of a sexual nature towards a female passenger which simply cannot be tolerated,” Farrell said. 

He reported an incident in October when he observed group of young men chanting about raping a woman on a nighttime Dart train. 

A recent report from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) found that 55% of women surveyed would not use public transport after dark or late at night, while 34% of women surveyed stated that feelings of insecurity have prevented them from travelling altogether.

The report also found that a lack of safety infrastructure often exacerbated women’s feelings of isolation and vulnerability when travelling.

Farrell said that he believes a dedicated transport police “must now be established” within An Garda Síochána. 

“The presence An Gardaí aboard our trains and buses will not only provide peace of mind for staff members and users, it will also crucially deter anti-social behaviour and abuse,” he said. 

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