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Over 500 incidents of assault or anti-social behaviour logged by Irish Rail this year

The log includes several near misses, a brawl with ‘quite a bit of blood’, and theft on trains and at stations.

Image: RollingNews.ie

MORE THAN 500 incidents of anti-social behaviour or assaults on staff or passengers have been reported by Irish Rail this year.

Another 62 incidents involving accidents where passengers were hurt, after falling onto platforms or getting hit by dislodged luggage, were also reported.

There were also 12 near misses with trains narrowly avoiding trespassers on tracks recorded by Irish Rail on a central log it keeps of incidents of concern, which has been released under FOI.

Nine assaults were recorded including a mass brawl at Drogheda station which left “quite a bit of blood”, and an attack on a state employee who got rammed by a bicycle.

The fight at Drogheda in January involved around a dozen people fighting in the station with gardaí arriving too late to arrest those involved, who had fled by train or towards the town.

The following day, a Revenue Protection Officer was rammed by a passenger with a bicycle causing cuts and bruises to her right hand, and bruising to her right leg.

In late January, train services were disrupted after a man was stabbed on a platform at Newbridge Station. A report of the incident said CCTV footage was downloaded and given to gardaí.

In February, gardaí were asked to meet a train arriving at Athenry, Co Galway after a female passenger punched a staff member in the face.

“Gardaí were alerted… and female passenger was removed from train. Individual is known to gardaí,” said the incident log.

In another incident that month, a passenger lunged at a DART ticket inspector after he was found to be using a blocked travel pass.

The log said: “He pushed me against the window and said he had friends in high places and would see to it that I would lose my job.”

During May, a “melee” broke out in Thurles Station after two men were observed crossing tracks near the train station.

After being told to leave, they turned violent and one of them followed staff into an office. “The man then attacked Traffic Coordinator A and in the melee had thrown a chair at him as well.”

Among the passenger accidents recorded was a person who fell “partially” between the train and platform at Heuston Station.

Another person was taken to hospital after they fell on the steps of the Galway Hooker service while a person who fell onto a platform at Shankill was also hospitalised

In other incidents, passengers were hit by bags that fell from overhead racks while in one incident at Athenry, a passenger was hit by a closing external door.

During one incident, a person had to be taken to hospital after apparently falling ill from an overdose of drink or drugs while on board a train service.

Irish Rail also reported twelve “category one near misses” involving trains, five of them involving DART services.

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The near misses involved trespassers on train lines with all but three of them taking place in Dublin.

In the log of anti-social behaviour, nineteen incidents of “lewd” behaviour were recorded which included inappropriate sexual behaviour and also urination in a public place.

There were also dozens of reports of begging, aggressive behaviour, and consumption of drugs.

Other incidents included false activation of passenger alarms, youths fighting on a platform, fireworks being shot at a train, and theft.

In one instance on a train service in Kerry, a man vomited and began to shout that he had coronavirus. 

A spokesman for Irish Rail said: “While the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour and slips, trips and falls have reduced from previous years, this was of course during a time of significantly reduced demand, from early March onwards.

“We have increased security resources throughout the Covid-19 phase as part of measures to ensure regulations associated with Covid-19 are being adhered to.”

He said there was improved identification and reporting of incidents, and that a range of measures were in place to address anti-social behaviour.

The spokesman said incidents of trespass were a concern: “[It] is not only illegal, it is extraordinarily dangerous. If a person falls or gets stuck on the track, the train cannot swerve, and can take anything up to a kilometre to stop, even with emergency braking, and it can be traumatic to our drivers also.”

About the author:

Ken Foxe

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