Irish Rail had to spend almost €1.9 million last year dealing with vandalism, graffiti, and other damage to its trains and buildings.
The rail operator dealt with 184 cases of graffiti or vandalism on trains last year with clean-up, repair, or repainting costing €1.73 million – or around €9,400 per incident.
The majority involved damage to the exterior of trains, a total of 166 cases, while the interior of a carriage was damaged on 18 occasions.
There were more than 300 instances logged where there was vandalism or damage to a train station or a railway structure.
A further €156,230 was spent by Irish Rail on clean-up and repairs following those with damage to lifts, bridges, rooves, and electrical substations all reported.
In one case, multiple shelters were vandalised and graffitied while in another an offensive message had been daubed on a shelter.
One incident was logged as “graffiti all over the station” while sexually explicit graffiti had to be scrubbed at another station.
Another case saw the words “IRA 2022” daubed all around a building in permanent marker. An Irish Rail employee tried to remove it with graffiti remover but was unsuccessful.
One entry in the log said: “Multiple areas of station ‘tagged’. Specifically above exit way … large amount [at Pearse Street in Dublin].
“An emergency plan sign … covered in graffiti. This is an urgent safety issue.”
Another saw a station daubed with spray paint, with references to the IRA and “a big huge shamrock” on one granite wall.
At Lansdowne Road Dart station, there was racist graffiti found, with further spray-painting on shelters and walls throughout the station.
Irish Rail said they would not provide the locations for all of the vandalism and graffiti incidents as many of the cases were still under investigation.
They said attacks were being monitored on an ongoing basis to protect rolling stock and to try and identify those responsible.
In some cases, gangs are known to have travelled from other jurisdictions to deface trains as part of what is known as “graffiti tourism”.
An information note from Irish Rail said: “There is a standing instruction that trains should not leave a depot to enter service with graffiti, trains vandalised elsewhere may work back in service to a location where they can be removed from service as easily as possible on the same day.”