SINN FÉIN'S spokesperson on transport, Darren O'Rourke, has said an increase in Garda resources is needed to crack down on antisocial behaviour on trains.
The Meath TD was recently informed by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton that Iarnród Éireann's annual spend on security has risen from €3.7 million in 2016 to an expected spend this year of €5.2 million.
Ms Naughton added that her department has been advised by Iarnród Éireann that a joint Iarnród Éireann-Garda focus on public order and antisocial behaviour has been in place since May of this year.
Speaking toduring a visit to Cork to attend a number of engagements including meetings with Cork Chamber, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Cork Cycling Campaign, Mr O’Rourke said while there has been an increase in spend on security there has also been “a comparable increase in incidents”.
“That tells me that it [the increase in spend on security] is not addressing it. I would make the case that the investment in private security would be better spent elsewhere, better spent resourcing the gardaí because they are the authority and they have the power.
Mr O’Rourke said that he and his party colleague Martin Kenny, Sinn Féin’s justice spokesperson, are currently looking at what the best model might be in ensuring greater levels of security on public transport. He said ensuring greater levels of safety for workers in the sector is also paramount.
Speaking in the Dáil recently, Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould said there is a need to reduce the cost of InterCity train tickets to incentivise people to use their cars less frequently.
“I checked today and for a family with two adults and two children to get a train up and back to Dublin would be €200. You could travel up and back in the car, with a stop at the garage for snacks and petrol, for half that. Telling people to ditch their car while simultaneously charging them through the nose for doing so, is absolutely hypocritical.”
Mr O’Rourke said agreed and said the introduction of the youth travel card will be a “step in the right direction”.
“I think people are ready to make the move [from private cars to public transport] if it makes sense to them but it will require significant State investment to make it happen.”