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Doherty slams Bus Éireann cutbacks

21 January, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has slammed the proposals from Bus Éireann to take 150 buses off the road and to lay off 320 workers. Senator Doherty accused the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Coalition of using the economic downturn as an excuse to undermine public transport.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said, "Fianna Fáil and the Green Party are ideologically opposed to public transport and having been undermining it even before the current economic downturn. This is evidenced by the granting of licenses to private bus companies at the expense of Bus Éireann.

"For example the Cork to Galway bus route was given to CityLink at a cost of €1m in revenue to Bus Éireann. The Dundalk to Dublin route on which Bus Éireann used to provide a full and comprehensive route taking in villages and towns along the way is now run by a private operator which only takes the main route and smaller towns are left without a service. This is more profitable but does not amount to a public service.

"The Fianna Fáil/Green Party Coalition is using the current economic climate as an excuse to implement its ideologically driven privatisation plan. These cuts are part of a wider plan to undermine public transport which started before the current economic downturn.

"The Government's Transport 21 plan now lies in tatters. The fact that this has all happened under the watch of the Greens shows that they are willing allies in Fianna Fáil's campaign against public services.

"In the current economic climate communities will be more dependent than ever on public services. It makes absolutely no sense to be cutting them back at a time when they are most needed." ENDS

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