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'Catastrophe on the Luas is just a matter of time', warns Burke

Christy Burke

The chairman of one of Dublin's transport watchdogs has said it is "only a matter of time before a catastrophic incident" happens on the Luas.

Former lord mayor Christy Burke has summoned senior Dublin City Council management and the National Transport Authority (NTA) to an urgent meeting on the rising number of "alarming incidents" on the Luas network.

General election candidate and city councillor Mr Burke, who is chairman of the Transportation Strategic Policy Committee, is angry that there are "no full-time marshals and security personnel" on Luas trams to stop serious anti- social behaviour and "totally un- acceptable" overcrowding.

He said measures need to be implemented without delay.

Mr Burke made his remarks after the Herald revealed a gang of teenage thugs set a woman's hair on fire during a night of chaos on January 11 while a tram was en-route to Tallaght.

Many residents in Dublin's south-central area are said to be afraid to use public transport following almost daily occurrences of anti-social behaviour and attacks.

Luas operator Transdev has apologised for its security's "unsatisfactory" response after the January 11 incident.

"Security is continually being called after anti-social incidents, but they need to be on the Luas trams full-time," said Mr Burke.

"Overcrowding on the Luas, which occurs every day, is also dangerous. Those with dis- abilities, young children and people travelling with buggies are subjected to horrendous conditions.

"In the interest of health and safety, marshals need to control the numbers getting on to trams.

Review

"If the operation of Luas lines continues like this, it will only be a matter of time before there is a catastrophic incident.

"I want Luas senior management and representatives from the NTA to attend an meeting on this very serious matter and implement changes immediately."

In response, a Transdev spokesperson said: "Security arrangements are continuously under review and have been recently reassessed, particularly in light of recently publicised incidents of anti-social behaviour involving groups of teens in local communities along the Grand Canal close to Luas stops."