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Bus Éireann crisis opportunity for Government to further Privatise – Tóibín

24 March, 2017

Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Tóibín has spoken out in support of Bus Éireann workers who began strike action today.

Deputy Tóibín said that, while difficulties experienced by those using the service are deeply regrettable, this course of action was an inevitable consequence of the insidious Government policy to undermine public services.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Right around the world, there is a significant migration of wealth from the 90% to the 10%. The richest 85 people on the planet have the same wealth as 3.5 billion people. This is leading to unrest and instability around the world. This is happening for a number of reasons. One of those is the continued attack on wages and working conditions of ordinary workers. Workers such as those in Bus Éireann and Tesco find that through no fault of their won their pay and conditions are being hammered.  

“Ideologues such as Shane Ross are helping to drive this change by undermining markets with excess supply capacity until the workers within no longer have enough income to pay for the ordinary costs of life such as rent, mortgages, and raising their children. What sense does it make to push families into surviving on Family Income Support?

“This current crisis has not come about by accident. Bus Éireann are not being allowed to compete on a level playing field with private contractors. I questioned the CEO of the National Transport Authority when she appeared before Committee last month. She admitted that private transport providers were not obliged to accept the travel passes, and that private transport providers do not serve the same number of villages and towns as our public transport system.

“Years of under-subvention is coming home to roost. It’s worth noting that our public transport network receives the lowest subvention in Europe. It’s clear to me that Minister Ross is not wasting this crisis and is opportunistically widening the private sector involvement in this sector.

“Public transport is a vital service, and can be a lifeline for those living in regional and rural Ireland. We are witnessing a decimation of routes both rural and urban.  Despite the frustration the public feel for such disruption in their lives, the blame must be focused solely on those who created this crisis, the Government’s sneaky privatisation plans and Minister Ross’s total inaction on resolving the matter.” 

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