Minister Ross must intervene to protect our public bus service – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has said that the Minister for Transport Shane Ross must intervene in the crisis at Bus Éireann in order to avert a protracted industrial dispute at the company.
He said the Minister ‘needs to engage with all of the stakeholders immediately in order to prevent serious travel disruption’ and his aim ‘must be to ensure we find a way to protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network.’
Teachta Adams said:
“I have been raising the difficulties at Bus Éireann with the Taoiseach for a long time now, and he has done has done nothing about it.
“The management of Bus Éireann have announced measures that threaten the rights of bus workers and passengers. By slashing overtime and Sunday rates and cutting pay, management is forcing the issue to an industrial dispute.
“This race to the bottom when it comes to workers’ pay and conditions is completely unacceptable.
“The Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport say that rural Ireland is a top priority for the government. There is no evidence of that. They have closed Garda stations, post offices, hospitals and other facilities. Now they are attacking the public bus service.
“A huge amount of people, particularly in rural Ireland, rely on Bus Éireann services.
“It is possible with good management, by listening to transport users and workers to create a service which will attract more people to use public transport. That should be the government’s position.
“The Minister for Transport Shane Ross should ensure the future sustainability of Bus Éireann as a public service.
“There are a range of decisions he could take, including; a review of loss making routes on which private carriers currently operate, a review of the number of private licenses issued on these routes and there should also be an increase in funding for the Free Travel Pass - the amount allocated currently covers just 41% of the cost of the average journey.
“The Minister needs to provide clarity regarding routes and services including Dublin to Derry, Dublin to Clonmel and Athlone to Westport, which have been identified for potential closure.
“He also needs to engage with all of the stakeholders immediately in order to prevent serious travel disruption. His aim must be to ensure that together we find a way to protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network.
“So once again, I would urge the Taoiseach to ensure that Minister Ross engages with all of the stakeholders, including the Department of Transport, the NTA, Bus Éireann and the unions, to find a resolution to the issues at Bus Éireann.”