Fianna Fáil Transport spokesperson Timmy Dooley has called on Tánaiste Joan Burton to clarify whether or not Minister Paschal Donohoe was expressing a personal view or the view of the Government, when he intervened in the rail dispute by dismissing the union position.
The Transport Minister made a series of inflammatory comments in relation to the threatened industrial action at Irish Rail by members of the National Bus and Rail Union and Siptu, while at the same time failing to meet with unions and refusing to play any constructive role in avoiding disruptive strike action.
Deputy Dooley commented, “The Minister chose to make the remarks without having met with rail workers and has now undoubtedly exacerbated an already very difficult process. He should be urging both sides to re-enter talks rather than taking sides. The Labour leader now needs to explain whether she supports Minister Donohoe’s position.
“The Labour Party went into PR overdrive when Alan Kelly was appointed as a Junior Minister with responsibility for Public Transport in 2011 indicating that the public transport system would be safe from privatisation. However, the recent Cabinet reshuffle saw the Government quietly drop the portfolio and walk away from the difficulties in that sector.
“There needs to be a concerted effort made to get the two sides in this dispute back to the talks table to hammer out a resolution to this row. Nothing will be achieved through industrial action and strikes, which only serve to anger customers, and in this case GAA fans. Minister Donohue should be encouraging and facilitating further discussions between management and unions and ensuring that these strikes do not go ahead”.