April 14, 2024
Government u-turn on public transport policing unit welcome but clear timeline needed – Martin Kenny TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport and Communications, Martin Kenny TD, has welcomed the commitment by government to developing a dedicated public transport policing unit.

He said that the commitment, made by Tánaiste Micheál Martin this weekend, represented another u-turn by government, with all three government parties having previously denied any need whatsoever for a dedicated public transport police.

Teachta Kenny said:

“Having campaigned heavily for a transport policing division alongside workers and commuters the last three years, I am pleased to hear the government has finally taken heed of what our transport workers and commuters need.

“For the past number of years, transport workers and commuters have told me continuously of the serious antisocial and criminal behaviour they face daily on certain routes and services.

“With their voices and experiences in mind, Sinn Féin adopted the establishment of a dedicated transport policing unit as party policy in 2021 and have continued to campaign for it since then.

“Since then I have raised the establishment of a public transport policing division continuously with the Minister for Transport, the junior minister for Transport, or the Minister for Justice. Each time, all three government parties have denied any need whatsoever for a dedicated public transport police.

“I would go as far as to say it was clearly government policy to oppose such a proposal. As recently as two months ago, I was informed by government that a dedicated transport policing division was not required, that Garda management didn’t want it, transport chiefs didn’t want it, and the government didn’t want it.

“This is completely at odds with what the Tánaiste announced this weekend. I welcome the u-turn, but I am concerned that no timeline was given for the implementation of the proposals.

“Unfortunately, we know this government has a talent of telling people what they want to hear without any follow through. I hope this will not be the case with the Tánaiste’s announcement. Only time will tell.

“What is clear is this announcement has come too late for those who have stopped using public transport, or who have left their jobs in the sector, due to the criminality and abuse they faced.”

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