Senator calls for flight bans for drunken passengers after woman groped on plane

Mr Dooley told Newstalk Breakfast that was travelling from Kyv in Ukraine, via Krakow in Poland, to Dublin last week when he saw a young woman being groped on board a flight.
Senator calls for flight bans for drunken passengers after woman groped on plane

Olivia Kelleher

Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley has called for unruly or disruptive airline passengers to face a lifetime ban from flying after he witnessed four drunk men subject women to "outrageous behaviour" on board a flight from Poland to Dublin.

Mr Dooley told Newstalk Breakfast that was travelling from Kyv in Ukraine, via Krakow in Poland, to Dublin last week when he saw a young woman being groped on board a flight.

He stated that the drunken men made the flight very uncomfortable for those on board.

"The flight got delayed for various reasons for about an hour, so we were sitting on the ground for longer than expected. It seemed to have encouraged a number of passengers to partake in whatever duty free or whatever purchases they had made at the airport.

"They got quite drunk and quite disorderly as the flight eventually took off. For those passengers with young children or who were seated close to them, they really were very disruptive.

"A number of passengers were crying. One in particular was groped as she passed by one of the individuals. They wouldn't wear masks. They started walking around against the direction and advice of the stewards. There was four of them in different parts of the aircraft and that made it very difficult for the flight attendants."

Mr Dooley said that the Ryanair cabin crew handled the matter with extraordinary professionalism in what was a "pretty awkward situation".

A number of passengers wanted to intervene with "pretty direct action" but the situation ultimately calmed down.

Mr Dooley believes that passengers who behave in an unacceptable manner on flights should be placed on a watch list.

"I know airlines have their own watch lists, but I do think it needs to be wider than that. I think at European level efforts should be made to ensure that individuals like this don't get to travel again.

"I would be in favour of a lifetime ban. People change over time and improve their behaviour and of course you would require capacity for people to appeal that at a later stage. People make mistakes in life and get their act together.

"But as a deterrent there should be a headline penalty of a lifetime ban. That something that needs to be done. It can't be just done at Irish level.

"It would benefit all those that travel on aircraft. It certainly would help airlines and their staff who shouldn't have to encounter that (sort of behaviour) on their daily routines."

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