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Racism

Irish Rail criticised after Indian man and parents suffer racist abuse on Belfast to Dublin train

Prasun Bhattacharjee spoke to RTÉ’s Liveline yesterday about the incident.

IRISH RAIL HAS been criticised after an Indian man and his parents were racially abused by a man on the Belfast to Dublin train on Sunday evening.

Prasun Bhattacharjee – an Indian national travelling around Ireland – spoke to RTÉ’s Liveline yesterday about the incident, which occurred on the 7.05pm Enterprise service from Belfast to Dublin. 

Bhattacharjee said that a man sat down next to him and his family and verbally abused them over the course of an hour. 

“One person who was on the same coach, he abused us for our skin colour, our nationality, all those things,” said Bhattacharjee.

We felt so bad. He sat beside us after boarding and he was drunk I think.

He said that staff were notified but that the man didn’t stop, and kept saying “why don’t you know English, why have you come here, you shouldn’t have come here”.

Prasun’s account was backed up by another man, Peter, who also called into the show. Peter said that the security guard who came along to intervene didn’t do enough to assist Prasun and his parents.

A third passenger called into Liveline today to further back up Prasun’s account. Emma Gorman shared some audio of the incident, in which the man can be heard openly verbally abusing Prasun and his family. 

“Go back to Pakistan, no one has the balls to fucking say it,” the man can be heard to say.  “You live under Irish rules or else f*ck off back home,” he says at another point. 

Gorman also said that not enough was done by Irish Rail staff, and that she and other passengers were scared to intervene.

“We were actually quite frightened of this man, it’s hard to know now a days if somebody is going to punch you or stab you,” she said.

I don’t think it should be up to passengers to risk their own safety.

In a statement to Liveline, an irish Rail spokesperson said that there were two staff members onboard the service and that they “did arrange for security to escort the person from the station when the train arrived at Connolly”.

“Every station where the Enterprise Service stops has staff at the station,” the spokesperson said. 

“On the wider issue of staffing. We are in the process of introducing Onboard Customer Service Agents all of our Intercity trains.

“Previous to this there were only Customer Service presences on Cork and Belfast services.

Their role is to assist customers onboard with any queries they may have, helping customers find their pre booked seats, keep customers informed if delays occur and act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour.

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