SOUTHSIDE Senator Catherine Noone (FG) has urged the Government to sanction tougher punishments for incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Senator Noone claimed that incidents of anti-social behaviour on the Luas had increased by 11 per cent in 2011, in comparison to the previous year, with an average of three disturbances taking place every day.
“As a result, Luas security officers are now accompanied by gardaí and officials from the Department of Social Protection to patrol the tramlines, in order to put a stop to anti-social behaviour and fraudulent travel passes being used by people chancing their arm,” she said.
“Not only is this an outrageous waste of Garda resources, which are already stretched to the limit, but passengers going about their daily business are being subjected to this anti-social behaviour on an increasingly regular basis.”
She also noted that the gardai in Dublin recorded a “huge increase” in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour that occurred on Arthur's Day on Thursday, September 27.
“There's no question that the number of reoffenders is high and that it's the same people reoffending over and over,” she added. “I think it's high time that we began looking at more serious punishments, for instance, raising the levels of fines and ensuring that we have robust collection methods in place.”
However, a spokesperson for Veolia said that Senator Noone's claim that gardai were regularly accompanying Luas staff on trams was “inaccurate”.
“Veolia staff, ticket inspectors and Luas security have teamed up with gardaí on occasion and travelled as a group doing blitzes on trams and enforcing all the Luas bye-laws,” the spokesperson said
“We have also set up hotlines with the Department of Social Protection which allows us to check the validity of Free Travel passes while on board the tram.
“This operation assures Luas passengers that we are all working together to address anti-social behaviour and working together to enforce the bye-laws, so people who are loitering at stops, or begging are being moved on.”