Trade union Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Eireann, has called on Louth Fine Gael TDs Fergus O’Dowd and Peter Fitzpatrick, together with Fianna Fail TD Declan Breathnach, to step in to protect Louth rural transport. With the Bus Eireann dispute in its tenth day, the union urged the TDs to exert pressure on Transport Minister Shane Ross to intervene so that resolution to the dispute can be achieved through dialogue and engagement among all stakeholders.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said:
“Whether commuting from Dundalk to Dublin, or going from Omeath to Castlebellinham, the people of Louth depend on Bus Eireann to provide a vital public service – a quality service delivered by workers deserving of decent Terms and Conditions of Employment.
“Deputies O’Dowd and Fitzpatrick are Government TDs, while FF Deputy Breathnach is tied in to Government policy through the ‘Confidence and Supply Agreement’ with Fine Gael. The crisis facing Bus Eireann has its roots in political choices made by successive governments: falling subventions, the failure to fully reimburse Bus Eireann for Free Travel, and the refusal to allow Expressway – as a commercial entity – to operate on a level playing field.
“It is clear that a dispute rooted in political choices require a political resolution, and Unite is calling on TDs supporting the Government to step up in order to protect the public transport on which their constituents rely.
“They need to demand that Transport Minister Shane Ross start doing his job by intervening to bring Bus Eireann back to the negotiating table. And in the medium term they need to pressurise the Government to develop a sustainable Public Transport Policy which serves the interests of the travelling public and the workers delivering the service.
“Opposition TDs in Louth and elsewhere have been putting sustained pressure on Minister Ross. Now, TDs supporting the Government must follow suit and put the interests of their constituents first.
“This is not just a national issue: It is an issue that politicians in Louth and every other county should be up in arms over, and Deputies O’Dowd, Fitzpatrick and Breathnach need to start treating it as such”, Mr Quigley said.