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rail network

Over 760 anti-social behaviour incidents on train services reported in first six months of year

The incidents included multiple reports of fighting, soiling, sexual harassment, lewd behaviour and hate incidents.

MORE THAN 760 incidents involving anti-social behaviour occurred on the country’s rail network during the first six months of this year, new figures have revealed.

They included multiple reports of fighting, soiling, sexual harassment, lewd behaviour and hate incidents on trains, many of which involved drugs or alcohol.

Nearly half of the 763 incidents took place on DART services in the capital, while the remainder occurred on Irish Rail’s intercity routes, according to records released under freedom of information laws.

A further 82 incidents were reported during the first three weeks of July, bringing the average number of anti-social behaviour complaints each month to 125, despite Irish Rail spending €5.7 million on security last year.

More than 50 incidents since the beginning of the year involved fighting, including one that was described as “intoxication related” on the DART at Lansdowne Road on the night of 8 July, after Westlife had performed at the nearby Aviva Stadium.

The records reveal a pattern of lewd behaviour on the Mallow-Tralee route during the first half of 2022. On 29 January, a man was reported to be harassing women and exhibiting “aggressive behaviour” at Mallow Station.

The same accusations were made in relation to a man on board the 13:05 Tralee to Mallow train on 8 June, while an incident involving “aggressive sexual harassment” was reported on the same train four days later. A similar complaint on the route followed on 29 June.

Lewd behaviour was the subject of 16 complaints over the six-month period, six of which related to DART services. A total of six incidents involved soiling, four of which occurred on the DART.

Hate incidents, which target people based on characteristics such as ethnicity, nationality, disability or sexual orientation, were reported five times over the same period. On one occasion, this resulted in a passenger being removed from a train at Portlaoise.

On 9 June, an incident on the Tralee to Mallow train involved a man who was “suspected of having a concealed weapon”. Another incident on 27 February involved a passenger who had brought a wheelie bin on the DART.

On 2 April, three incidents took place on separate trains on the Northern line within 140 minutes: a shatter hammer was taken, a fire extinguisher was used, and emergency hammers were interfered with at Balbriggan.

Barry Kenny, corporate communications manager with Irish Rail, said the company had been working extensively with An Garda Síochána and its private security personnel to ensure a safe travelling and working environment.

“Anti-social behaviour is a societal issue to which we are not immune – however, we are encouraged that since mid-year 2021, the trend in criminal/ASB incidents has begun to reduce year on year, indicating that the range of measures we have put in place are taking effect,” he said.

Spending on security resources has increased by 50% in the past five years, from €3.7 million in 2016 to €5.7 million last year, Kenny noted. Proactive joint patrols with gardaí have also been established, particularly on the DART, Heuston commuter services, and the Cork route.

Rapid response support hubs have also been set up in 11 locations for intercity services, and staff have a direct line to An Garda Síochána for incident support, Kenny added.

“The measures in place and those planned are yielding and will continue to yield results. However, as we can see across society, this is an issue which will require continuing joint action, and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to further reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour,” he said.

Darragh McDonagh
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