No surprises when Minister Ross refuses to acknowledge that privatisation of public bus routes has already begun – Munster
Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD today questioned the Minister for Transport Shane Ross in the Dáil about his intentions in relation to the future of public transport, given the current financial crises in Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann and his ongoing indifference towards the sector.
“There’s been a lack of investment in public transport in the past decade, and that has left large sections of the sector in serious financial trouble. Both Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann have indicated that they are close to insolvency, but Minister Ross hasn’t shown the slightest bit of interest in working with them to find a solution. He has completely abandoned his duties as Minister.
“There has been a series of industrial actions, a financial crisis in Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann is close to insolvency and we have a situation where other CIÉ workers are willing to put their necks on the line to support their colleagues, yet Minister Ross still refuses to engage in the discourse on public transport. Surely he has had enough of wake-up calls by now?”
Deputy Munster asked Minister Ross for assurances that further sections of CIÉ would not be privatised, citing the 10% of public bus routes that are currently being put out to tender to protect the existing services. He could not confirm that further routes would not be put out to tender, saying it was the responsibility of the NTA, further abandoning his duties as Minister.
“The Minister showed his true colours when he refused to give a commitment that no further routes would be put out to tender to protect existing services. He can call it ‘tendering’, or ‘outsourcing’, or whatever he chooses, but at the end of the day, this is privatisation of our public transport network.”