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SF Councillor slams privatisation ideology of FF/PD Government

3 August, 2005

Dublin  Sinn  Féin  Councillor  Dáithi Doolan has slammed the privatisation
ideology  of the Fianna Fáil/PD Government after the Minister for Transport
Martin  Cullen  proposed  the  privatisation  of  15% of Dublin Bus routes.
Councillor  Doolan  said,  “It is an ideology that disregards the rights of
the marginalised and the elderly.”

Speaking  in Dublin this morning he said, “The proposed privatisation of up
to  15%  of Dublin Bus routes this year and next year is the thin edge of a
very  malignant  wedge.  Public transport is a service which belongs to the
people as a right.  The notion that it should be run on the basis of profit
is  a  dangerous one which will leave individuals and communities isolated.
Experience  has shown that once public transport is privatised the logic of
profit  overrides  all  other  considerations.   What  this  will mean is a
reduction  in  services  for  areas  that cannot provide a frequency of use
suitable  to the companies need for profit.  In practical terms people will
be  left  standing  at the bus stop until the company is sure it can fill a
bus.  They will regard it as inefficient to run a bus at anything less than
full capacity.

“The  logic  of  the  above  also  mean that there will be no incentive for
people  to  stop using their cars with all the congestion and environmental
issues  that  entails.   The  Governments withholding of the finance for an
extra  150  buses  contingent on an agreement is therefore contradictory to
their  oft-stated  objective  of  reducing  the number of cars on the road.
This is illogical unless you see it in ideological terms where both parties
in  Government  see  privatisation in terms of ideology.  It is an ideology
that  disregards  the  rights  of the marginalized and the elderly but lets
face it this is a Government that has shown scant regard for those sections
of society.

“Finally  the evidence from the privatisation of public transport in London
has shown that it has a negative effect on safety with every safety measure
being  measured  against  its  impact on profit.  New Labour were forced to
re-purchase  recently  privatised  rail  services  after  a series of fatal
crashes.  It is to be hoped that things will not have to go this far before
the Government is forced to reverse this disastrous policy”

Councillor Doolan concluded by saying, "Sinn Féin delegations have met with
the   NBRU,  SIPTU  and  other  unions  to  express  our  concerns  at  the
privatisation  of  agenda  of this government. We will continue to meet and
work  with  the  trade  union  movement and others in our opposition to the
privatisation of our public services." ENDS

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