Violence at Dublin Airport shows Ireland needs dedicated transport police, says TD

Fianna Fáil TD James Lawless said public spaces have begun to feel unsafe
Violence at Dublin Airport shows Ireland needs dedicated transport police, says TD

Olivia Kelleher

Violence at Dublin Airport and elsewhere on public transport shows a need for dedicated transport police in Ireland, the Dáil justice committee chairman has said.

Fianna Fáil TD James Lawless said public spaces have begun to feel unsafe with drinking and drug-taking a common sight on public transport during the day.

"It is becoming more commonplace. I have seen it. During Covid when people were off the train and off the trams I think most law-abiding citizens stayed at home and perhaps the less law-abiding citizens had free rein and expanded to those places," he told Newstalk radio.

Mr Lawless said public transport had lost ticket collectors and extra drivers and staff need "proper backup" as they go about their work.

He acknowledged that in some cases private security firms are employed to protect the public. However, he maintains that the public should be served by a dedicated transport police force who are accountable, and have training and powers of arrest.

"I commend those individuals who serve in a [private] security role. They are quite formidable. I don't think anyone would mess with them. They are effective when they are there.

"Our citizens should be served by a force who are accountable, who have the training and powers of arrest."

The Kildare North TD said he travels frequently on trains, buses and Luas services in Dublin, and noted that anti-social behaviour is often happening at 3pm and not late at night.

"Many people say they have seen people intoxicated on public transport. I am not talking about the Nitelink on the way home at 3am. I am talking about 3pm in the day."

His comments come after a brawl took place in Dublin Airport last week. A large number of gardaí and airport police responded to the public order incident.

A man in his 20s has been charged in connection with the incident, while another man was taken to Beaumont Hospital.

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