Fianna Fáil’s Transport spokesperson Timmy Dooley has questioned the Transport Minister’s approach to the threatened Irish Rail strike and accused him of being more interested in posturing for the approval of his Fine Gael base than finding a resolution to the dispute. Minister Donohoe told media that unions were giving a “slap in the face” to commuters and taxpayers. However, it is not clear whether the Minister had even met with unions before making his comments.
Deputy Dooley commented, “Minister Donohoe is clearly relishing the opportunity to strike some sort of macho Fine Gael anti-union pose in the media, but this posturing is unlikely to help put an end to the threatened strike and actually aid those using rail services.
“Did the Minister even meet with union representatives before making those comments? It would appear he has already spoken with management; however, wading into such a fraught and difficult process in the way he has, will serve only to further entrench conflicting positions. It is the Minister’s responsibility to resolve this crisis, not exacerbate it.
“This long running dispute will not be resolved through strikes and industrial action. Nor will it be aided by the line minister making unhelpful and ill-advised remarks in the media. Negotiation is the only way forward, but I fear the Minister has jeopardised that process.
“All efforts must be made to stop these strikes from going ahead. Their timing means tens of thousands of GAA fans will be discommoded on two of the busiest weekends in the sports calendar. It will also impact on all DART and commuter services, as well as nationwide routes. Perhaps even more damaging in the longer term is the effect they will have on commuter confidence in our public transport infrastructure at a time when we should be encouraging and investing in more people leaving the car at home when travelling to work.
“We know from previous industrial relations disputes that negotiation is the only way to find a resolution. The State’s industrial relations mechanisms must be used to try and bring this row to a conclusion and prevent any action. I’m urging both sides to use the tools available to them to re-enter talks and find a way forward”.