Uproar after rock is thrown at bus driver

By Mary Dennehy

CONTINUED calls are being made for local councillors, TDs and community reps to engage with the monthly bus forum, after a driver was hit by a rock as he travelled through Tallaght.

As reported in last week’s Echo, anti-social behaviour in some parts of West Tallaght is having a ‘detrimental effect’ on bus drivers, with the 27, 77a and 65b all being curtailed in recent weeks.

Dublin Bus Rock compressor

he rock that hit the Dublin Bus drivers window

Anti-social behaviour continued last Friday, according to union officials, when a rock was thrown through the open driver’s window of a bus travelling up the Blessington Road, past Kiltalown House.

According to the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), the rock hit the driver on the side of his head.

Sean Yeates, Branch Secretary of NBRU Dublin Branch and the union executive in Dublin Bus’s Ringsend garage, told The Echo: “If the rock was any bigger it could have knocked the driver out – he had people on board that bus.”

For around 25 years, a bus forum has been running in Tallaght, which, historically, has been attended by Dublin Bus, gardai, unions, community representatives, local councillors and TDs. 

However, according to Mr Yeates, representation from elected and community reps is lacking in recent times.

Mr Yeates said that Cllr Charlie O’Connor (FF) and Deputy John Lahart (FF) are the only elected reps that regularly attend forum meetings.

“Going forward we need more input from local councillors and TDs,” Mr Yeates said.

“If you are elected by the people of West Tallaght you should be at the meeting to represent the community.

“Dublin Bus and the unions are working with the gardai, but we need the community to get on board.

“The community needs to put an effort in, all local reps, community workers and TDs need to be attending these meetings.”

The next Dublin Bus Forum in Tallaght is scheduled for January 10, with all elected and community reps invited to attend.

Mr Yeates stressed that bus drivers have a “great relationship” with the people of Tallaght, but that the safety of staff and customers has to be “paramount”.

“January 10 is a red line for the NBRU,” Mr Yeates said.

“If we don’t get a reaction from the community we will be looking to stop buses at The Square from 8pm [each night, in the new year]

. . . which results in the community, those coming home from work, college, being affected.”

Dublin Bus is currently running two pilot 24-hour services on the 15 and 41 routes, with Tallaght believed to be earmarked for a 24-hour service down the road.

However, according to Mr Yeates: “Tallaght is on the cusp of getting a 24-hour service, but there’s no way the union is going to agree to that.

“Tallaght could badly do with a 24-hour bus service, it would be brilliant for the community, but not until the anti-social behaviour issues are dealt with.”

In relation to the incident on the Blessington Road, a Garda spokesperson told The Echo that they are investigating an incident of “endangering traffic”, which occurred last Friday at around 10.45pm.

A Garda spokesperson said: “A male driver of a bus allegedly received a minor injury when a stone was thrown through the open window of his vehicle.

“No damage was caused to the vehicle. Investigation is ongoing.”

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