Transport Companies Unite to Tackle Racism
Monday 14th August last saw Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Transdev, Local Link bus services and the taxi industry all uniting to launch a campaign to challenge racism on public transport. Coordinated by the Immigrant Council of Ireland in partnership with Transport for Ireland and Dublin City Council, it is the biggest anti-racism campaign of its kind in Europe with over one thousand posters displayed during a two week period.
Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “The Immigrant Council is proud to link up with national transport agencies to promote a message of solidarity and zero tolerance towards racism. The public transport system is the perfect partner as it both serves and represents the cultural diversity in Ireland.
“We have learned around one in six of Dublin Bus employees are from a migrant background, with 70 different countries represented. A total of 33 different backgrounds are represented among Bus Éireann’s 2,536 employees and among Iarnród Éireann’s 3,832 staff 23 different countries of origin are represented. Among 264 Transdev staff, 30 different nationalities are represented.”
Anne Graham, Chief Executive of Transport for Ireland, said: “Ireland has become more diverse and more mature in recent years, and the staff who deliver our public transport services certainly reflect these positive changes. However that doesn’t mean we can be complacent, and prejudice and intolerance – whoever the target may be – need to be tackled head on.
“This is the fifth year the campaign has run and the positive impact on the transport agencies and their staff has been encouraging. Transport for Ireland is delighted to give this campaign our full support.”
Fiona Healy from Dublin City Council, added, “During the period of the campaign we encourage transport users to report any incidences of racism they see. Eliminating racism on our transport networks is a brilliant place to start as they are used by everyone without discrimination.
“Dublin City Council is delighted to support these transport agencies in demonstrating zero tolerance towards racism and encouraging anyone who witnesses or experiences it to speak out.”
Rasa Mikalauskiene, originally from Lithuania and a bus driver with Bus Éireann, thinks it’s important to run campaigns like this. She said, “I have been at Bus Éireann for 12 years. I work the West Cork route, out to Skibbereen and Bantry – my office is on the wheels. I’ve been doing this route for 10 years and my customers know me and I know everyone’s names and even their surnames.
“I was working before in other workplaces and it was bad but here I feel comfortable and I feel respected. I don’t feel foreign, I feel normal. Creating a good atmosphere in work ensures everyone feels happier and works more efficiently.”
*Anyone who witnesses or experiences racism on Ireland’s transport system is urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org