Rail employee insists abuse is getting worse
The employee is due to return back to work after being out following a physical assault in Dublin
An Irish Rail employee who was physically attacked has said that the abuse levelled at employees by members of the public is getting much worse.
The issue arose on The Hard Shoulder programme this week, after Newstalk highlighted a huge increase in anti-social behaviour on Irish trains.
The radio station reported that last year Irish Rail received 444 complaints of anti-social behaviour, up over 60 per cent from last year.
John, who works with Irish Rail and is currently on leave following one of such incidents, said he was checking tickets at Pearse Street Station in Dublin when he was physically assaulted.
He was informed of complaints of a disturbance on an inbound carriage.
Checking it out, John and a colleague encountered a teenage boy and girl arguing onboard who, after an attempt to remove them from the train, began to physically attack John.
“He pulled me down on top of him and kept screaming and roaring and shouting,” John said. Eventually, he kicked my knee and I just collapsed.
“I’ve been out of work since. Hopefully, I’m due back over the weekend to start a new shift but it’s an occurrence that’s not few and far between these days,” he said.
John admitted to presenter Kieran Cuddihy that it has now become a common occurrence.
He stressed that the threat of violence is always there for Irish Rail workers. He has previously dealt with threats of broken bottles and a threat of being lit on fire with petrol.
Some colleagues, he said, have had even worse threats of violence and dangerous incidents.
“I’ve had colleagues who have had cars driven at them when they were trying to talk to people at a station,” he stated.
Kieran asked John if specialised security would solve the issue. John informed that there is already security, however they are “shackled” by what they can do.
He added that it is the gardaí who have the most power to deal with these incidents.
“It is a totally different experience when the guards are with us. People are more likely to comply. If there are no guards around forget it.
“They don’t want to explain why they don’t have a ticket or give you their name,” John added.
Speaking after, Jim O’ Callaghan TD, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for justice said there should be a special public transport unit within the gardaí for dealing with transport.