Irish Rail enforce ban on same sex couple

4 Sep 2008

Irish Rail has advised their staff that same sex couples are not entitled to a married/partner travel pass.

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."


The Irish Council for Civil Liberties have also released a statement on this issue. To see their response, click here.