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Dublin: 15 °C Tuesday 25 June, 2019

No dedicated Transport Police yet as Minister says extra garda cash 'undoubtedly' benefits transport policing

Unions and the opposition have called for a dedicated transport police.

File photo. Calls have been made for a dedicated transport police for bus and rail services.
File photo. Calls have been made for a dedicated transport police for bus and rail services.
Image: Leah Farrell/

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Charlie Flanagan has said that additional funding provided to An Garda Síochána will “undoubtedly also benefit the policing of transport services”, when asked if a dedicated Transport Police would be established.

The government has been considering setting up a transport police similar to the equivalent force in Britain, no indication has yet been given that it will be established despite calls from the opposition.

The set up of a dedicated transport police was part of Fianna Fáil’s manifesto for the local elections, while Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys said earlier this month that there should be a “permanent security presence on our trains and stations with real powers of enforcement”.

Unions have also called for the introduction of a dedicated force, amid reports of anti-social behaviour across public transport services.

In the parliamentary question put to Flanagan, Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan asked what the position was with regard to the roll out of a dedicated transport police.

Flanagan replied that the gardaí engages extensively with transport operators and that a range of regional and local operations have been put in place to address incidents and issues that have arisen at specific locations. 

“There is ongoing communication between An Garda Síochána and the respective control centres, and access to good quality CCTV can assist the Gardaí when investigating serious incidents,” he said.

The Justice Minister said he welcomed plans from Irish Rail to instal more CCTV and increase security patrols on Dart carriages, and added he’d favour a text alert system being brought in to allow customers to discreetly report any incidents as they develop on rail services.

Such a text system already exists on the Luas.

Flanagan also outlined laws in plays to punish offenders on public transport and said that an extra €100 million had been given to An Garda Síochána in the budget, with more officers to be sent to frontline policing this year.

He said: “The provision of these additional resources to the Commissioner is a key component in this Government’s approach to improving public safety throughout the country which will undoubtedly also benefit policing of transport services in Dublin and in other areas.”

At no point in his answer did he indicate if there’d be a dedicated transport police in future.

In a separate answer given by Minister for Transport Shane Ross this week, he said that he is “concerned” to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of all passengers.

He said that he had responded to calls for a dedicated transport police and understood Flanagan was discussing the matter with An Garda Síochána.

“Following representations from the National Bus and Rail Union seeking the establishment of a dedicated police force for public transport, my Department wrote to Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus to seek their views on the issue of anti-social behaviour and ensuring the safety of both passengers and staff,” Ross said. “All companies stressed the strong and close working relationships with An Garda Síochána.”

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Sean Murray

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