Dooley says Transport Minister is trying to mask FG ideology to hand public transport provision over to private operators
Today Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe attempted to deflect responsibility from the chaos coming down the line for commuters from the impending bus strike.
Fianna Fáil is accusing the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe of deliberately trying to muddy the waters in the debate over the Government’s transport policies to mask Fine Gael’s privatisation agenda and Labour’s utter failure to protect public transport provision.
The party’s Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley has said: “Minister Donohoe, in a cynical attempt to deflect attention from Fine Gael’s blatant privatisation agenda, is misrepresenting our position. In line with EU rules the previous Government brought in legislation on route competition but stipulated that this must apply only to new routes created in the future. At no point did Fianna Fáil seek to privatise existing Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann routes and it’s disingenuous for the Minister to imply otherwise.
“In fact Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 52 of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill from 2008 stipulated that the three CIE companies would have “exclusive rights” for existing services and would comply with the legislation through the issue of a direct award for service rather than through a tendering process.”
Deputy Dooley added: “The simple fact of the matter is that Fine Gael has been hell bent on privatising bus routes in Dublin for years. In Government now with the Labour Party they have reversed the decision of 2008 and are intent on privatising 10% of the core network and the Labour party is doing nothing to prevent it. In fact Labour has allowed the priority of public transport to slip down this Government’s agenda altogether.
“When this Government was formed Labour had a Minister in the Department of Transport in the form of Alan Kelly with “special responsibility for Public and Commuter Transport”. This role has been wiped off the map since Minister Kelly was promoted to look after Irish Water.
“The public transport network in Dublin and across the country is too important to commuters to allow it to suffer. Breaking with the principle of a publicly owned, publicly operated transport network would fundamentally undermine the system.”