‘We need more women’

Dublin, April 18, 2018 – The Dublin Busker Festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary, but some women are still not welcome on board.

“Women are welcome, but not on the buses,” said Maria, a busker who was born in the US and now works in Dublin.

“There are no women on the bus,” she said.

“We need to get more women on board.”

Dublin Busker festival founder John O’Shea said the Dublin Buskers’ Association has been in contact with the organisers and has suggested they can allow women on buses for two years.

“The issue was raised with them and they said ‘we are looking into it’,” he said.

“We are going to have a female representative on board and we will take it to a committee of the association and see how we can go forward with it.”

The Dublin Buskings Association said in a statement it was aware of the issues raised about the buskers.

“In our view, this is a matter of fundamental fairness, respect and equality for all members of the community,” it said.

Dublin Mayor Leo Varadkar has previously said women are welcome on the Dublin bus but said they would not be on the front line.

“I think it’s a little bit unfair that women can’t come and sit on the backs of the men, they’re not in the front lines of the action, and we’ll see what happens,” he said last year.

However, he also said women were welcome on other buses and trains.

“If women are on buses, they have the same right to be on buses as anyone else,” he told the Irish Times last year, adding that women were “allowed to sit on all the buses”.

“It’s not a matter about whether or not women are allowed to ride the bus, it’s about whether women are given the same opportunities as anyone other than men.”

Mr Varadker said Dublin Busking Association member Gail, a nurse, was the first female member to ride on the first Dublin Buskar’s bus in 1974.

“She was the youngest,” Mr Varadar said.

Gail O’Brien, the Irish busker’s association’s general secretary, said the organisation had reached out to the organisers to discuss the issue.

“It would be nice to see women on all our buses, especially when they’re young,” she told The Irish Sun.

“There are a lot of women out there who are doing fantastic work and we should be able to have more of them.”

She said Dublin would continue to be a welcoming city for women, adding: “I think the Dubliners are very welcoming, so we’re just hoping we’ll get it across.”