Drivers worried as drinking, violence on trains increases
Train drivers are growing increasingly concerned for their safety following a 35pc increase in the number of drunken and violent incidents on-board and in stations.
Irish Rail said there were 381 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour last year. This represents a stark increase of the 2013 figure, which was 281.
An Irish Rail spokesperson said the incidents include "threatening and abusive behaviour, vandalism and other instances".
They also confirmed the number of employees who were injured rose from 13 in 2013 to 19 last year, an increase of 46pc.
Dermot O'Leary, the general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), said his organisation has a number of "ongoing concerns about anti-social behaviour".
"There is a particular concern that larger inter-city-type trains have similar crewing arrangements to smaller commuter-type trains," he said.
"We have had occasion in the past to raise this issue. The feeling among our members is that it is only a matter of time before a serious incident occurs."
Mr O'Leary has written to Irish Rail bosses about the issue.
"Having a database is one wthing, but having an agreed joint approach to addressing such incidents is what is urgently required here," he said.
"A recent incident in Cork where a locomotive driver was spat at as he went to board his train is symptomatic of the incidents we are hearing about."
Irish Rail bosses believe the increase in the number of recorded incidents is down to "greater reporting", which they encourage staff to do.
The company said it "engages security contractors to provide a roving patrol on board Dart and commuter services seven days a week".
This security detail also includes a "constant static" presence in Dublin's Connolly and Heuston stations.
Last November, several staff members were forced to tackle a man who smashed 16 windows on a stationary train with two emergency hammers. As a result, capacity during rush-hour services was reduced.