February 20, 2024
SIPTU survey further underpins need for dedicated Public Transport Policing – Martin Kenny TD & Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Transport & Communications spokesperson Martin Kenny TD and spokesperson om Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD have repeated their calls on both the Minister for Justice and Minister for Transport to introduce a dedicated public transport policing division within An Garda Síochána.

Their calls came after the publication of a recent survey by SIPTU which found that over four out of five public transport workers have experienced abuse during the course of their work. 

Speaking earlier today, Teachta Kenny said:

“Only last week, we were reading through the findings of a report by the NTA that found some passengers still do not feel safe when using public transport.  Now, we have the SIPTU survey stating more than 80% of public transport workers feel that abuse and anti-social behaviour is an issue for them at work. 

“This survey tallies further with a previous survey undertaken by the National Bus and Rail workers Union.  These reports and surveys are all pointing to the same conclusion – that safety on public transport is a real issue. 

“Commuters and transport staff deserve to feel safe while onboard public transport.  They simply do not feel safe, and that must change if we have any hope of retaining staff in the sector. 

“We have had an issue for some time now with antisocial and criminal behaviour on public transport.  I have engaged extensively with commuters, transport workers, unions, and Gardaí around the need to develop a robust and workable transport policing division of An Garda Síochána. 

“Yet, this government continue to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to safety onboard public transport.” 

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Incidences of abuse and anti-social behaviour towards transport workers is an escalating problem.
“While the high-profile withdrawal of bus services on some routes captured headlines in recent months, the reality for workers is that abuse and anti-social behaviour are daily threats.

“Survey results published by SIPTU as part of their Respect Transport Workers campaign indicates that more than 80 per cent of public transport workers say they have been the target of abuse, and more than half say antisocial behaviour is an issue for them at least once a week.

“Such abuse, anti-social behaviour, and criminality poses a threat to the very safety of transport workers, and it should not be tolerated.

“As someone who regularly uses public transport to travel to and from work, I have witnessed first-hand abuse directed towards transport workers and commuters.

“Transport workers must be protected at work, passengers must be protected on their journeys, and Sinn Féin and SIPTU believe a dedicated transport policing division is central to ensuring this.

“Worker and passenger safety must be a priority for both the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Transport. If we want more people using public transport, we need to ensure the safety of staff and passengers.”

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