Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has today once again reiterated his calls for the Minister for Justice to establish a transport policing system within An Garda Síochána without any further delay following a homophobic attack on a young man on a Dublin bus last night.
Teachta Kenny said:
“The fact that we once again woke up this morning to learn of yet another cowardly homophobic attack in our capital city is of deep concern, and will once again cause great distress and worry among our LGBTQ community who increasingly feel that their safety is under threat.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe on our streets, in their homes, and going about their daily business. I wish to extend my solidarity with the victim of this cowardly act of violence. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope that there is sufficient CCTV footage to bring the perpetrator to justice.
“The fact that this attack happened on a Dublin Bus once again underlines the need to establish a transport policing system.
“Last November, I raised the issues facing staff and commuters using public transport with the Minister for Justice. At the time, the Minister maintained that there was no need for a dedicated transport policing unit to serve public transport.
“Since then, we have seen a further deterioration in the conditions faced on some services by staff and passengers.
“This includes open drug use and drug dealing, harassment and assault of passengers and staff, excessive alcohol use, and intimidation.
“Last night’s homophobic attack is the latest example of this, and it is simply not acceptable any longer for the government to sit on their hands while this continues to fester.
“If we are going to encourage more people to use our public transport links, we must ensure that everyone feels safe when doing so.
“I was dismayed in November when the Minister denied the need for a transport policing unit. But when I revisited the idea with the Minister again in February, the answers I received were the same – the Department of Justice and the NTA feel there is no requirement for a unit of An Garda Síochána to be dedicated to transport policing.
“This is despite the mounting evidence of assault, intimidation and harassment of drivers, and repeated calls by the National Bus and Rail Union for the introduction of a transport policing unit to ensure the safety of their members and the public they serve.
“Previous public transport users have also ceased using transport services due to previous bad experiences while on board.
“The Minister for Justice and Minister for Transport must re-examine their opposition to a Transport Policing Unit of An Garda Síochána without further delay.”