THERE have been calls for a dedicated garda transport division following the revelation of details of complaints regarding open drug use and threats to passengers on the Dublin-Cork train.
Irish Rail received 26 reports of antisocial behaviour on the route between January 2020 and June 2021.
Several related to drug use while one complaint referred to passengers openly consuming cocaine while on the train.
A teenage girl also reported a threat from a teenage boy who said he would hit her with a bottle and a machete if she did not speak to him.
Speaking on the complaints, Dermot O'Leary, from the National Bus and Rail Union reiterated his calls for a dedicated transport police force.
“It’s well known at this stage that that Cork-Dublin line has a variety of anti-social behaviour or crime issues," he said.
He added: “The anti-social behaviour, the assaults on staff and customers, verbal and physical, that type of behaviour, we believe, can be challenged by the existence of the presence of a dedicated garda transport division and we’ve said it for many, many years.
Mr O’Leary said they have been calling on successive governments to act on the issue and also stated that the Dublin-Cork line has been known as a “drug corridor” for some time.
He said it has gotten to the stage where their members know “who the habitual offenders are”.
“They tend to try and avoid them and that’s a sad work life to have to face it on a daily basis.”
Irish Rail said the line is the busiest Intercity route on their network.
All Dublin/Cork services have a train host on board, ensuring that customers can report issues directly, so security or Gardai can be alerted.
“Anti-social behaviour is a societal issue to which we are not immune, and the complaints illustrate the upset caused to customers by a tiny minority who engage in it, within a range of issues as detailed.“
According to Irish Rail, each issue which causes a threat to customers or employees is investigated and they liaise with the Gardaí to address instances of anti-social behaviour, including provision of CCTV.
“The structure of policing is a matter for the Gardaí, but we have established excellent liaison with Gardaí right along the route, to ensure swift response to such issues, as well as on-board patrols and operations.”