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Investigation into reports of disturbing 'rape chant' on nighttime DART service

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell was travelling home towards Malahide when he heard the alarming chant.

Image: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

A GOVERNMENT TD has spoken about hearing a group of young men chanting about raping a woman on a nighttime DART train in Dublin last evening.

Alan Farrell was on the last train service towards Malahide after a long day at work and overheard the group chanting “let’s rape her” as a woman stepped off the carriage at a station. 

Farrell said that he was “really disturbed” by the incident and has reported to Irish Rail who in turn are set to liaise with gardaí in an investigation.

“The lads said it after the women got off the train. I’m sure she didn’t hear it but there were other women on the train who did hear it,” the Fine Gael TD told The Journal

“It’s just a really troubling event. It rings so many bells, in the sense of horrible horrific masculinity and bravado but what it ultimately boils down to is one of the most horrifying things that a human being can do to another human being and that’s what I found most disturbing.” 

Farrell said he confronted the group of men, who he said were all in their 20s, and that some of them accepted that they did wrong.

He said he was “shocked initially” and asked other passengers if he they had also heard the chant. 

The Dáil deputy, who tweeted about the incident last night, described the group as “boisterous, really loud, shouting and roaring”. 

Farrell sent a message to the Irish Rail anti-social behaviour helpline and received an email from the company this morning who told him they would take action.   

“They did say it when the woman was off the train but imagine what the woman sitting opposite me or adjacent to me was thinking because she definitely heard it and she spent the whole time on the rest of the journey to Malahide just looking at the floor.” 

Farrell dismissed any suggestions that the incident should be treated as men engaging in a joke. 

“It’s not okay that these young women who witnessed this are intimidated – it’s not all right.

“It’s shocking, it’s degrading, it’s humiliating and it’s intimidating, and it’s against the law.

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“A female friend of mine said last night that it wasn’t just toxic masculinity – it was rape culture,” he added.  

Farrell does not believe it is a problem solely for extra policing to solve and said it is a “societal problem about a lack of decency”. 

Barry Kenny of Irish Rail said the company was aware of the incident and was investigating.

“We contacted Deputy Farrell earlier this morning to get further information, so we can review CCTV and liaise with Gardaí on this appalling incident of verbal abuse and intimidation.  Deputy Farrell has been in contact to provide us with this.

“We have up to 20 security teams patrolling our stations and services daily, with greater focus on evening services.

Our central security hub ensures stations are live monitored, and reports from security teams, staff or customers via our text alert systems are responded to as appropriate, with security support or Garda intervention where required

There have been calls for a dedicated transport police force similar to that in the UK to deal with the growing problem of anti-social behaviour on the DART line. 

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