Routes cut over vicious attack
Dublin Bus has been forced to pull out of trouble spots in the city following savage assaults on its drivers.
Following intensive talks with gardai, routes in Clondalkin and Blanchardstown have been diverted until further notice.
And now the company is looking for members of the public in Clondalkin to help them track the prime suspects in the attacks, or else the community risks losing its bus service.
Two bus routes serving the area have diverted away from their scheduled routes over a series of incidents that reached crisis point when a driver was viciously beaten. According to sources, the young victim was headbutted and punched on the ground by two men after he came to the assistance of a colleague who was being assaulted by passengers.
The two drivers had been operating a route that was diverted to avoid missile-throwing thugs who were targeting the buses on a nightly basis for a month.
Windows had been smashed with stones and bottles, while other passengers have been terrorised by anti-social behaviour on board.
The attacks were launched against buses on the 78A route between the city centre and Liffey Valley and 76 between Blanchardstown and Fettercairn.
The diversions after 7.30pm have been in place since July 5, with buses not serving the Neilstown Road, Ronanstown or Fonthill Road in either direction.
A Dublin Bus spokeswoman said: "After two meetings on July 15 with members of the Gardaí and the residents association, it was decided that diversions will continue. Dublin Bus is hopeful that the services will be restored as soon as possible".
One driver said the decision to divert was taken as a last resort when the number of attacks went "off the scale".
He said it was regrettable that the actions of a minority had disrupted a vital service and put the safety of drivers and other passengers at risk.
The assaults happened earlier this month when two passengers verbally abused a foreign driver when the bus diverted.
They refused to leave and started throwing coins at him, hitting him in the eye.
The other driver got out to help and was headbutted.
The pair set upon him and violently kicked him as he lay helpless on the ground.
The bus worker was badly shaken in the incident and was out of work for a week. The incident is being investigated by the gardai.
Councillor Shane O'Connor (SF) condemned the attacks and said he was hopeful the services would be back by this weekend.
"There is clear, unambiguous support from a number of service providers, including the gardai, to establish a forum to deal with this", he said.
Dublin Bus has said it is hopeful the service can return to normal soon, following a series of meetings with gardai, local politicians and community leaders.