Sinn Fein’s David Cullinane has called for an urgent debate on the government’s plans to privatise the country’s public transport network. Speaking in the Seanad during the order of business Senator Cullinane said:
“This is part of a larger plan by The National Transport Authority to allow private bus operators to tender for services currently operated by Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus.
“Privatisation of either part or all of the state’s public transport network is not in the interest of the public, of workers, or in the long-term interest of the state.
“All five city bus routes in Waterford, as well as the service to Tramore, are to be awarded to private operators from 2016.
“I have to ask why Waterford is being singled out for this experiment. Are the Minister, his civil servants, and the NTA using the city as a guinea pig?
“This is a very dangerous experiment, where the NTA is confusing ‘value for money’ with ‘cheapness’.
“The CIE Group employs over 10,000 people and there is justifiable concern among the staff and their unions.
“Minister Varadkar should rethink this foolish and ill thought out plan.
“Private companies operate on the sole purpose of maximizing profit and not in the public interest. On the other hand, a good public transport network operates in the public interest and provides a vital public service.
“The Minister’s plans for privatisation will disproportionately impact the vulnerable and the poor who have a high dependency on public transport.
“Sinn Féin is opposed to privatization and supports the unions in their opposition to the Minister’s plans.” ENDS