117. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if she has plans to establish a transport police service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58141/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I thank Deputy Kenny for raising this matter. I fully appreciate the concerns raised by people, including members of the public and those working in public transport systems and specifically those who must deal with antisocial behaviour and criminal activity. If we are honest, we have probably all seen videos and various recordings circulating throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the past few months, of really unacceptable behaviour. People's health is being put at risk at well. It is essential that people feel safe and are safe when they take public transport or use any type of transport across the country.
As the Deputy may be aware, Garda management engages extensively with transport operators, including the National Transport Authority, Irish Rail, taking in DART and InterCity rail, and Transdev Ireland, which operates the Luas. It does so to try to provide a high-visibility presence on public transport through a co-ordinated approach. I am informed by the Garda authorities that a range of regional and local operations have been put in place to try to prevent and detect the criminal activity and antisocial behaviour on public transport we have seen more often in recent times. For example, Operation Twin Track was a community engagement and rail safety policing initiative conducted by the Garda, in partnership with other public transportation stakeholders, with the sole purpose of providing high-visibility policing of rail and light rail transport within the Dublin metropolitan region and nationwide, and to deliver crime prevention advice.
The multi-agency review was conducted to examine the effectiveness of this operation and it was agreed that An Garda Síochána will continue to proactively engage with public transportation stakeholders and providers to try to conduct further similar operations. I hope we will see that expand beyond the Dublin metropolitan region. I have been advised by the Garda authorities that each chief superintendent in Dublin has put in place a dedicated policing plan to tackle antisocial behaviour on public transport. Gardaí are conducting both overt and covert patrols of various public transport networks to address incidents of antisocial behaviour or any other offences.
A number of operations have taken place across the Dublin metropolitan region, including during the recent Hallowe'en period, involving high-visibility patrols of public transport on Dublin Bus, Luas and DART services to prevent and detect incidents of antisocial behaviour. Much work is being done already. I commend the Garda on the work that has been done.