Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne has warned the Government against allowing rail services in Wexford to be used as a bargaining chip as part of the ongoing industrial relations dispute at Irish Rail.
Deputy Browne urged unions and management at the company to re-enter negotiations in order to bring the dispute to an end.
Deputy Browne said, “The ongoing industrial action at Irish Rail is causing significant hardship for rail passengers in Wexford. We’ve now experienced two full strike days as a result of the dispute and it has caused severe disruption for commuters which has had a knock on effect on all public transport services.
“Previous experience clearly shows us that these disputes can only be ended by utilising the industrial relations mechanisms of the State. We need to see a resumption of talks and the matter referred to the Labour Court to ensure the issue is quickly dealt with.
“The Government must ensure that rail services in Wexford are not used as a bargaining chip as part of these negotiations. We cannot see any downgrading of the Gorey to Rosslare Europort service. This link is vital now more than ever considering the threat posed by Brexit and the strategic importance of Rosslare Europort as one of the country’s key pieces of transport infrastructure.
“Minister Ross promised to publish the results of a rail review without delay but we are still waiting for details on this. The Minister must publish the results of the rail review as a matter of urgency. We need a new vision for developing our rail network to ensure the service and scheduling reflects the needs of communities.
“Rail services are popular in Wexford and there is the scope to expand usage if the Government puts in place the necessary supports to develop our rail links. Rail services are currently used by a large number of visitors to Wexford alongside commuters travelling to Dublin on a daily basis. People attending hospitals for out-patient services also use the rail network to access their appointments.
“Any attempt to downgrade rail services in Wexford simply will not be tolerated. The ongoing negotiations at Irish Rail must focus on how to expand the service rather than sinking to shrink it in the years ahead,” concluded Deputy Browne.