April 26, 2023
Garda presence on public transport must lead to wider rollout of transport policing division – Martin Kenny TD & Pa Daly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications & Transport Martin Kenny TD and spokesperson on Justice Pa Daly TD have welcomed the announcement today that Gardaí will be present in major transport hubs from next month. 

This announcement comes after a number of long-running campaigns by unions and stakeholders for the introduction of a transport policing division. 

Teachta Kenny said:

“Too often, workers and passengers feel unsafe on public transport as a small minority of people cause huge distress and harm. Both commuters and staff will be happy to see a Garda presence in one of Irelands busiest transport hubs from next month, and this is absolutely a step in the right direction.  However, it is simply not enough.

“For more than two years I have engaged with unions, workers, commuters, Gardaí, and indeed the Justice Minister around the need for a public transport policing division within An Garda Síochána.  Each and every time I brought the concerns of staff and commuters to the Minister, there was a hesitancy to listen to the experiences of the public when it came to their safety onboard public transport.

 

“This new command centre will undoubtedly be welcomed, but it is a small start.  These major transport hubs tend to act as flash points for some of the attacks we have seen time and again over the last number of years.  While there have been private security firms operating in these locations for a number of years, they do not have the wide-ranging powers of arrest and detention that members of An Garda Síochána have. 

“As we continue to encourage the use of public transport in a bid to combat carbon emissions, safety from anti-social and criminal behaviour is a basic requirement – both for staff and commuters. People deserve to feel safe and protected as they travel on our public transport services.

“We must see a commitment to a fully operational and nationwide Transport Policing division from both the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Justice.”

Teachta Daly said:

“The opening of these hubs is important, as Gardaí are regularly called out to public transport incidents. It is crucial that passengers and transport staff can feel safe and protected during their journeys. Locating operational centres in the one building, as is proposed in Heuston Station, will improve operational efficiencies but more can be done.

“A standalone transport division with An Garda Síochána, as proposed by my predecessor as Justice spokesperson, Deputy Martin Kenny, would provide an element of safety and peace of mind for passengers as passengers have reported being intimidated at stations.

“More and more people are increasingly using public transport to make their journeys. We want to make sure everyone can do so in comfort and while being safe. Sinn Féin believe that the Gardaí must receive the investment and resources needed to keep communities safe. For too long, the government have been asleep on this issue and failed to provide the leadership that is needed.” 

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