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Taoiseach to engage with ministers on the issue of police on public transport

Micheál Martin says public transport must be safe and affordable.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said he will engage with the Ministers for Justice and Transport on the issue of transport police, as well as ensuring public transport is safe, efficient and affordable. 

Over the summer months there have been renewed calls for a stand alone transport police on public transport following a number of attacks, such as the headbutting of a man who was on the bus with his friends. 

It is understood that a number of Fianna Fáil TDs have raised the matter of violence on Ireland’s public transport, calling for more to be done.

Tom O’Connor from the National Bus and Rail Union has said investment in public transport services is “for naught” if people don’t feel safe using public transport.

Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesperson, Martin Kenny, said the attack “once again underlines the need to establish a transport policing system”. 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has previously said any decision on whether there’d be a dedicated transport police would be better for the Garda Commissioner rather than the Government. It is understood the Commissioner is not in favour of a stand alone transport police, which would be similar to other forces in other jurisdictions, such as London. 

At last night’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary meeting, the Taoiseach also outlined the ongoing work on a cost-of-living package that will be unveiled on budget day.

He told TDs and senators that the Government is determined to alleviate the pressures on people and protect jobs.

“We are developing a method to maximise the direct support for families and workers,” he said. 

Bertie Ahern

In addition, and not for the first time, there were calls from a number of TDs to readmit Bertie Ahern to the party. 

During a discussion on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement next year, Senator Niall Blaney and TD Barry Cowen said the time was right for him to be brought back to the party. 

Cowen also called on the Taoiseach to seek through his office that the ESB either proceed with renewable projects at obsolete power plants with a timescale rather than more unfulfilled promises or release properties to local authorities who can oversee open market competition which accommodates renewable projects such as district heating options.

At Varadkar’s parliamentary party meeting last night it is understood that TDs and senators had a long list of requests to be included in the budget.

He told party members the budget preparations are coming along, stating that the focus is on helping families and businesses with energy costs. 

The budget announced on 27 September will be the biggest budget package in several years, he said. 

Regarding the cost of living, the budget will consist of universal measures to help everyone including hard pressed middle income earners and targeted assistance for those who need it most including pensioners, carers and the disabled, he said. 

Varadkar said such unpredictability in the energy market may necessitate further intervention by Government again next year stating that there is a need to keep something in reserve.

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