School Children Help Bus Éireann Wage War on Bus Vandalism

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Monday 10 Dec 07

School children in Limerick have become ‘anti-vandalism ambassadors’ in a community programme run by Bus Éireann to crack down on the crime and anti-social behaviour which affects its buses and services.

At a launch today in Scoil Mhathair Dé National School in Limerick (12 midday, Mon 10 December) tributes will be paid to the children who participated in the 2007 Bus Éireann Limerick Schools Community Awareness Programme. The programme is now in its fourth year and new figures from Bus Éireann showing a decline in instances of vandalism in the city indicate it is beginning to have an effect.

A spokesperson said: “Bus Vandalism has been a problem for us, not just in Limerick but in most urban areas. It is a costly problem, it adversely affects customer services and Bus Éireann has been working to counteract it with communities and the Gardai. Initiatives such as our Schools Programme seem to be bearing fruit. There has been a 50% decline in incidents of vandalism in the city this year compared with 2006 and we hope to make continued progress in this area in 2008 in the interests of providing a safer environment for everyone in the future.”

At today’s event in Limerick, Minister Willie O’Dea will be joined by the CEO of Bus Éireann Tim Hayes, Mayor of Limerick Cllr Ger Fahy and the Leas Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council Cllr Bridget Teefy in paying tribute to the young people who have participated in this year’s programme.

The programme is run by a Limerick Bus Éireann driver, Ger Doran who visits schools and engages children in a thought-provoking and lively discussion about these issues. In 2007, Ger visited 24 schools and spoke with 3390 children.

The aim of the programme is to highlight to children the important role the bus plays in the life of the community and how vandalism adversely affects neighbourhoods.

In the broadest sense, the programme seeks to get children at a young age to start thinking about the concept of community and as such it is a very positive initiative for the community a whole.

As part of the school visits, a DVD specially commissioned by Bus Éireann is screened, which brings to light the negative effects of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The DVD has proved particularly effective at illustrating the wasteful and harmful effects of bus vandalism.

During the school visits, children are also invited to participate in annual art and poetry competition with an anti vandalism message. The winning entries are printed in the calendar. At today’s event in Scoil Mathair Dé, Minister O’Dea will announce the winners of this year’s competition and present them with an official copy of the calendar.

The Issue of Bus Vandalism

Bus vandalism can take the form of stones being thrown at buses, windows being broken, graffiti, seats being slashed and various types of anti social behaviour against drivers. Such attacks jeopardise the lives and safety of passengers and drivers. It is also a significant cost to the company and adversely affects the provision of city services to customers when buses are off the road for repair.

The aim of the programme is to bring home to communities and to school children in particular the adverse effects of bus vandalism: the inconvenience to customers as well as the injury and potential loss of life that are caused as a result of bus vandalism and anti-social behaviour towards drivers.

Monday, 10th December, 2007