Deputy Tommy Broughan has consistently been asking about increased security measures at DART stations and on trains, following many emails, visits and calls from concerned commuters about anti-social and criminal behaviour. Most recently, Deputy Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, about Irish Rail’s plans to introduce a confidential text message scheme for members of the public to report anti-social behaviour.
This week I spoke three times in Dáil Eireann. On Wednesday I asked the Government to urgently reform the 1942/2004 banking legislation to address the Tracker Mortgage Scandal. At Leaders Questions on Thursday I raised the issue of serious anti-social behavior in parts of Dublin Bay North and the urgent need to resource community policing teams. Later on Thursday I demanded an urgent resolution of impending strike action at Irish Rail for communities, workers and Iarnrod Eireann in a Topical Issues Debate with Shane Ross.
It is astonishing that we again face a national transport strike during the Minister’s tenure. We went through this previously with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. Eventually, a settlement was reached. The very hard-working staff with their five trade unions – Unite, SIPTU, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, TEEU, and the National Bus and Rail Union, NBRU, took a very mature and responsible line at the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC. They seemed to be inching towards a settlement of around 2.5%, which is a little bit over the general public service rise which has already been agreed. Suddenly, there was a debacle and it was stopped. Many people think this was stopped on the Minister’s orders because he was not prepared to give the normal pay rise in the public sector to workers in this area.
Over recent months, Deputy Broughan was contacted by many Clongriffin and Belmayne constituents who complained bitterly about the ongoing vandalism at Clongriffin DART Station. The Station was an integral part of the Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council North Fringe master-plans and the new residents of the area campaigned for nearly seven years to have this fine modern station provided for the new urban district.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has recently raised the concerning issue of lack of access to rail services for persons with mobility or sensory impairments. Recently there have been a number of stories of wheelchair users being left abandoned on platforms with no assistance to help them board trains. Because of this and contact from distressed constituents, Deputy Broughan raised the matter with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, who referred the questions to Iarnród Éireann for further reply.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has continuously received complaints from angry commuters who are unable to use the lifts at the Howth Junction/Donaghmede DART station because the lifts are out of use often due to vandalism. Over the years, Deputy Broughan has made many representations on behalf of dissatisfied constituents to the CEO of Irish Rail and there have been a number of initiatives by Irish Rail to try and improve the significant disruption caused (in particular to commuters with mobility issues and people travelling with small children) while the lifts are out of use.
It is highly ironic that it is Fianna Fáil which is tabling the Dublin transport motion before us. It was that party and its current Fine Gael partners in government which starved the Dublin region of transport and other key infrastructure over the past five decades. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, for example, the proposed light rail system included a northside Ballymun-Dublin Airport line but the Ahern Government scrapped the northside proposal and went ahead with the minimum red and green lines. Now, three decades later, we are still talking about metro north and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, has again put it on the long finger until 2026 or whenever. I want to commend Fingal County Council chief executive, Paul Reid, and his staff on highlighting the issue and protecting the metro north economic corridor up to Swords and Lissenhall.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has today welcomed news from Irish Rail that the lifts at Howth Junction DART station are to be overhauled. Deputy Broughan has made many representations on behalf of dissatisfied constituents over the years regarding the unreliability of the lifts. The lifts are very often out of use which causes significant disruption in particular to commuters with mobility issues and people travelling with small children.
Deputy Broughan has condemned the shocking acts of vandalism which took place at Bayside DART station over the weekend. Thankfully nobody was harmed in the serious incidences of vandalism, anti-social behaviour and destruction of property.