Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the new Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe to take a new direction on public transport and row back on privatisation plans as well as prioritising delivery of the Luas Cross City and A5 projects. He made his comments following the announcement of a cabinet reshuffle by Taoiseach Enda Kenny today.
Deputy Ellis said:
“The outgoing Minister Leo Varadkar was hard working and dedicated but his direction was wrong. Minister Varadkar used his tenure to push through an agenda of privatisation and austerity which has put vital transport services and the conditions of workers at risk.
“The newly appointed Minister Donohoe must row back on this agenda. He must use his time to strengthen public transport in Ireland not undermine it. He should immediately stop plans to privatise 10% of Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus routes as well as calling a halt to the wholesale privatisation of route in Waterford. This move has endangered jobs, workers conditions as well as service quality. It is a plan based on ideology and not evidence as good policy should be. Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus have worked hard to come through the worst of the recession and now as they begin to see profitability in their future it is the job of the state to support them.
“The Minister must also now prioritise delivering Luas CrossCity and the A5 road project. He must work with Sinn Féin to support all Ireland transport routes and to challenge the cross border tariffs on hauliers. He must work with the taxi industry to continue needed reform which supports ordinary drivers. I also hope to see him progress swiftly on plans for a Rapid Transit bus service for Dublin Airport.
“The new Minister must not simply work hard but begin now to put the transport needs of the people before his party’s own ideological position.”