SIPTU representatives have welcomed the support of the Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, for the creation of a dedicated transport police unit, saying it was another important milestone in the union’s Respect Transport Workers (RTW) campaign, which calls for action to end an epidemic of abuse and anti-social behaviour on the public transport system. 

SIPTU Transport, Energy, Aviation and Construction Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “Our members welcome the support expressed by the Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis at the weekend for a dedicated transport police unit. This change in the direction of the Government about this issue is a direct result of the SIPTU campaign. 

“The publicity this campaign has generated concerning the spiralling level of abuse and anti-social behaviour our members who work on the public transport network are facing has made what was previously said to be impossible, possible, that is the creation of a dedicated transport police unit. We look forward to further discussing this necessary development with the Government.”

SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Murphy, said: “Our members will now expect action from the Government on this issue. It must be noted that Fianna Fáil does not control either of the Government Departments which would be directly involved in making a transport police unit a reality. 

“What our members are calling for immediately is the public backing for such a move by the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Justice. This will reassure them that this is not merely a political feint by one of the Government parties.

“SIPTU officials and elected workforce representatives are available immediately to begin discussing in earnest how all the stakeholders in the public transport network work together to make our proposal on a transport policing unit a reality.”

He added: “Meanwhile, we will continue with our campaign. This Wednesday afternoon, SIPTU representatives will appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications to fully brief them on the Respect Transport Workers campaign. At this meeting, we will be announcing the results of a further survey of our members in the public transport sector concerning the nature of the workplace threats, abuse and harassment they are facing daily.”

Pictured above: SIPTU TEAC Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, SIPTU Shop Steward Suzanne Armstrong and SIPTU NEC member, Stephen Millane.