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Unread 03-09-2008, 13:03   #1
Commuticon
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Default Irish Rail engaged in discrimination against gay rail users

http://www.gcn.ie/feature.aspx?artic...2&sectionid=14

RAIL ENFORCE BAN ON SAME SEX COUPLES
Irish Rail has advised their staff that same sex couples are not entitled to a partner travel pass although heterosexual couples are..
A notice telling ticket checkers not to allow same sex couples with married/partner travel passes to travel, signed by the Manager for Revenue Protection for Irish Rail, was spotted in Dublin’s Heuston Station, signed January 27, 2008.

Such travel passes are awarded to people who are married or cohabiting as married.

The notice is in accordance with the Social Welfare Amendment Act 2004 which defines a spouse as a member of the opposite sex. The act was introduced by the then Minister for Social Welfare, Mary Coughlan, after a gay pensioner won a case under the Equal Status Act, allowing himself and his partner to travel under the same pensioner’s travel pass.

The Social Welfare Amendment Act, 2004 reversed this ruling and was one of the first pieces of legislation to enshrine discrimination into the Irish legal system.

Blogger, Suzy Byrne, who first reported the sighting of the notice in Heuston Station, telling staff to be on the look-out for older gay and lesbian couples travelling on the same pass has said, “I am emailing Barry Kenny, the head of communications in Irish Rail and seeking a response on how such a document came about. I will be asking about the incidence of gay couples traveling and committing revenue offences against Irish Rail and what training staff have in dealing with the matter.”
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Unread 03-09-2008, 13:14   #2
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I have written to Irish Rail telling them i am boycotting their services until this ridiculous discrimination is reversed. I would encourage others to let them know how offensive this is.

Their email is info@irishrail.ie

What I wrote is as follows:

"Dear Sir/Madam

Please confirm that Irish Rail has advised their staff that gay couples are not entitled to a married/partner free travel pass like heterosexual couples are.
A notice telling ticket checkers not to allow same sex couples with married/partner travel passes to travel, signed by the Manager for Revenue Protection for Irish Rail, has been spotted in Dublin's Heuston Station.

Such travel passes are awarded to people who are married or cohabiting as married.

The notice is apparently in accordance with the Social Welfare Amendment Act 2004 which defines a spouse as a member of the opposite sex and was one of the first pieces of legislation to enshrine discrimination into the Irish legal system.

Please be advised that I will not be using Irish Rail and encouraging my friends; family and work colleagues to boycott Irish Rail until this blatant discrimination is reversed.

In 21st century Ireland you should be ashamed that this situation can exist. It is utterly irrelevant what the legislation says. What is clear is the Irish Rail is specifically targetting gay couples to overcharge them

I would also urge the Manager for Revenue Protection to consider his position in Irish Rail. Someone who can issue such an offensively discriminatory order to staff is perhaps not suitable for that position.

Yours sincerely"
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Unread 03-09-2008, 13:26   #3
Mark Gleeson
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We received an email about this yesterday, little investigation reveals that the guilty party if there is one is the Dept of Family and Social Affairs.

As we understand it currently there exists a single pass valid in the circumstances referred to. It appears this is well known within the CIE group and staff are aware of this case. Anyone else who presents themselves in the scenario described do not have a valid pass and therefore are rightly refused free travel.

If the Dept of Family and Social Affairs have approved the issue of the passes in such cases then Irish Rail are under the terms of the free travel agreement required to accept them, no evidence has been produced to indicate the contary occurring. Naturally free travel is subject to the pass holder presenting themselves at the booking office to obtain a ticket, matching the pass owner at the ticket check and that there is no suspicion of a counterfeit pass.

Irish Rail are acting as agents of the Dept of Family and Social Affairs and are required to follow the rules they set, Irish Rail cannot set restrictions on free travel (only restriction is special/charter trains i.e. non PSO), its entirely the Dept of Family and Social Affairs realm.

A serious crack down on misuse of the free travel scheme is underway, far too often has the partner companion pass been the subject of abuse. A new type of pass will be issued in coming years to further block unauthorised use.

One thing we can agree on is the free travel scheme is a mess, is subject to serious abuse and the cost to provide the travel is not fully reimbursed to the transport companies resulting in fare paying passengers subsidising those on the free travel scheme.
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Unread 03-09-2008, 14:40   #4
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What you say is all true but what is equally true is that Irish Rail are acting as agents of clear discrimination.

In my view the fact that it is the department of Social Welfare who are insisting on the application of this law does not excuse Irish Rail - they have instructed their staff to watch out for elderly gay couples so they can charge them full price when they insist on no such thing for heterosexual pensioners. I find that really offensive

I have written to Irish Rail telling them I am boycotting them. Hundreds (probably thousands) of gay commuters use Irish Rail. Irish Rail should understand there will be financial consequences for applying the law regardless of who wrote the law (and for choosing to instruct their staff to specifically watch out for elderly gay couples which they ARE doing)

To change the discriminatory legislation may take some years. In the meantime Irish Rail can choose to ignore this clearly discriminatory legislation.

If they choose not to ignore it then that is their choice. And it is the choice for gay and other commuters to express their disgust to Irish Rail (as well as the minister for social welfare)

The email for Irish Rail is info@irishrail.ie
The email for the minister for Social Welfare is info@welfare.ie (or mary.hanafin@oireachtas.ie)
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Unread 03-09-2008, 14:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Commuticon View Post
for elderly gay couples
Yes, because elderly people are the only ones who are in receipt of the free travel pass.
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Unread 03-09-2008, 15:10   #6
Mark Gleeson
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No case exists to challenge Irish Rail, since no passengers in this case have been refused, they might be which is totally different.

The Irish Rail position is that the pass requires that one passenger be male and one female, those are the conditions of the pass set by the Dept, if both are of the same gender then there is a problem since according to the pass issuer such a situation cannot exist. Its a simple way to catch misuse on this pass type.

Since only ONE pass exists and that is well known within CIE and will be permitted, the holder of the valid pass is entitled to the full privileges of travel. If this person is refused travel (and no one is saying they have been and have held the pass for some time), then a clear and blatant case exists against Irish Rail, if they are allowed travel without restriction then whats the problem?

The issue is the Dept of Family and Social Affairs they decide who gets a pass, to travel, you must have a pass, which won't be issued in this case, therein is the problem. The Dept of Family and Social Affairs seems to be very confused.

The issue is not the use of the pass on the train, since its impossible to actually get the pass in the first place for the situation to occur.

Incidentally in all likelihood a similar notice has been issued by all 3 CIE companies, not just Irish Rail and probably the Luas as well.
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Unread 03-09-2008, 15:12   #7
Thomas J Stamp
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Wow, someone has seen that notice which has been up for months and months.

Irish Rail have no choice in doing this. The passes are issued by the Department of Social and Community Affairs. If there is someone you should write to it is them, not IE. IE are acting in accordance with the law.

Legally speaking, IE are not discriminating untill the law they are acting upon is found to be an act of discrimination.

And that about wraps up this thread before we have my brethern in Islandbridge down our necks.
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