30/04/2015

Sinn Féin Call On Transport Minister To 'Accept Responsibility' For Bus Strikes

Minister for Transport Paschal Donoghue has been told to accept his responsibility for the upcoming bus strike and to "call a halt" to privatisation plans.

Sinn Féin transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis made the call ahead of a 48 hours strike in an ongoing dispute over the government's plan to privatise 10% of Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus routes.

"The Minister cannot continue to blame workers or shift responsibility on to the NTA or Europe. It was his decision to begin to privatise bus routes across the state and this has led to these very justifiable concerns by workers and their unions," Deputy Ellis said.

"This strike on the face of it is about workers conditions, but in reality is about a campaign by government to undermine and destroy public transport in the state and to sell it off to the highest bidder.

"The plans would see 10% of public transport routes being offered to private interests but in Waterford 100% of bus routes are to be on the auction block. It is clear Waterford is the guinea pig for the government privatisation plans.

"Fine Gael and Labour in government have cut between 21 and 24 percent of the subsidy to Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann as well as forcing fare increases and route cuts which created serious challenges for the companies. Through hard work these public companies, which are essential for many communities across Dublin and the state, weathered cuts and the jobs crisis. They now face direct attack from this government.

"The Minister has one option to avert this strike and ensure public transports future for the communities that depend on it, and that is to call a halt to his privatisation plans right now and consign them to the dustbin."

(MH/CD)

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