Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe, has called for the setting up of a dedicated transport police service to specifically deal with crime on public transport after more complaints of racist and violent behaviour on the Luas. Seán Crowe said: “I have been contacted by a distressed constituent who witnessed vile racist abuse and violent behaviour on the Luas from the Point to Tallaght on a Saturday night recently around 9pm.  A group of youths tried to set fire to a woman’s hair as shocked passengers looked on. Apparently, they were waiting for 40 minutes before any security or assistance eventually arrived.

“As a regular user of this Luas service myself I am shocked at this incident and the lack of security and assistance for this distressed woman. I hope that CCTV cameras from the tram have been provided to An Garda Síochána and I am calling on anyone who witnessed this attack or has any information to pass that information to the Gardaí. “This is just one of a number of incidents that have happened on the Luas and other public transport in recent months. I attend the local Tallaght Bus and Luas Forum that is made up of politicians, Gardaí, Dublin Bus unions and management, and representatives of Luas, and attacks like this are a sick and worrying development.

“Everybody should be able to travel on public transport in safety, without hassle or fear of racist thugs. Drivers should also be free to do a day’s work without intimidation or abuse. “There is a growing need to establish a dedicated transport police to tackle threats and intimidation. Luas security guards have little powers and cannot arrest individuals. “An Garda Síochána are currently involved in what is called Operation Safe Route, but they can’t be everywhere and they have other duties. “In order to protect the health and safety of public transport staff and passenger, surely it is way past the time to examine the feasibility of introducing a dedicated transport police service. “I believe a dedicated transport police unit is needed to tackle anti-social behaviour on our public transport services.”