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Sam Boal

As it happened: Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services return to normal after rush hour chaos

Hundreds of thousands of passengers were affected by this morning’s cancellations.

EXTREME TRAVEL DISRUPTION is set to ease in the coming hours as secondary pickets are lifted at Dublin Bus and Irish Rail sites.

There was severe disruption this morning as a result of the pre-dawn action, which union bosses say was unsanctioned and which lasted until around 10am.

The latest main points:

  • The Bus Éireann strike is continuing
  • Pickets at secondary locations were lifted at 10am
  • Irish Rail says it will take hours for normal service to return
  • Dublin Bus says it will be mid-morning before full service returns
  • There was extremely heavy traffic in Dublin as a result of the action
  • The Luas has been running as normal but volumes are up
  • Union bosses, including the NBRU’s Dermot O’Leary, said today’s action wasn’t sanctioned
  • Transport Minister Shane Ross called the action “appalling”


We’re finishing this liveblog now, as services begin to return to normal.

Follow the links above for the latest from Irish Rail and Dublin Bus.

As usual, we’ll have all the main developments and reaction throughout the day on 

I’m off to get my long-delayed 7am cup of coffee.

AA Roadwatch has sent in its take of what happened this morning, along with some advice for motorists today.

“As many people only found out about the disruption to Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services this morning, we saw a significant build up in traffic on all the main commuter routes into Dublin City, with normal delays also taking significantly longer to clear,” Elaine O’Sullivan, Deputy Editor of AA Roadwatch stated.

In particular, this morning saw heavy delays on the M3 and M4 due to an increase in normal traffic levels and as we don’t yet know for how long these services will be affected we would advise all commuters to allow extra time for journeys where possible and plan ahead.

“As we saw with the Dublin Bus strikes in 2016 any disruption to public transport leads to a spike in the number of cyclists and pedestrians on many main commuter routes. Many of these may not be regular cyclists so motorists are reminded to take extra precautions and allow extra distance between themselves and vulnerable road users where possible,” O’Sullivan added.

While everyone using our roads has to share the burden when it comes to road safety, as the motorist’s vehicle is the one which can cause the most damage drivers have to take on the greatest share of responsibility.

Dermot O’Leary of the NBRU has issued the following statement:

Earlier, he spoke to Morning Ireland to say he was “categorically stating I knew nothing about this action until this morning”.

“I assure you, there was no union involvement in this,” he said.

I’m urging those who are picketing to stop, and people [at Irish Rail and Dublin Bus] should go to work immediately.

O’Leary did say, however, that he had flagged the potential for this dispute to spread for several weeks.

We spoke to O’Leary shortly before 10am too. He’s on his way to Waterford for a protest. The union’s hoping to pile pressure on local TD and junior minister John Halligan with the action.

Dublin’s Viking Splash tours are operating as normal, apparently. One just drove past our office with a bunch of cheering tourists.

“Dublin Bus wishes to advise customers that secondary picketing at our depots has now been lifted and buses are beginning to depart all depots,” according to a fresh statement from the company.

Please note it will be mid morning before full service resumes and RTPI information is available.

RTPI means ‘real time passenger information’, in case you were wondering.

According to Dublin Bus:

Customers can also get updates on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @dublinbusnews or call our customer service line on (01) 8734222, lines open from 08:30 – 18:00hrs  (Monday to Saturday excluding bank holidays).

We’re hearing from transport and union officials that pickets are being lifted or are due to be lifted at all secondary sites around now.

The Bus Éireann pickets will, of course, continue.

Dublin Bus and Irish Rail services are expected to return to normal in the coming hours – although it will be the afternoon before train services are back to regular schedules.

It looks like pickets are being lifted at main locations now.

They’ve been in place since early this morning – so it looks like the unofficial action was targeted to affect morning rush hour only.

It will still take hours for Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services to get back to normal.

Unite trade union organiser Willie Quigley told that the the unions had no prior knowledge of the solidarity strike action before this morning.

He said he hoped the action “is not something that would be prolonged” but said that he understood the anger and action by the workers.

“I think I concur that the reality is after [yesterday's] protest and the continued inaction from the minister… I think it was inevitable that something would happen,” he said.

It’s not surprising. I would feel the solidarity is there because the three companies are part of the wider CIE group and they know that what happens in one will spread to the other.

He again called on Transport Minister Shane Ross to intervene in the dispute.

Some good news.

Michael Healy-Rae on the strike action taking place:

“Now that public transport has shut down in Dublin, politicians in Dublin might wake up and see that we actually have a problem”

Here’s the rest of the Kerry TD’s statement:

I sympathise with commuters around the country this morning who face another day of strike action and the chaos that has been caused in Dublin. People who woke up this morning to find out that they cannot get to work, college, hospital appointments etc, it simply is not good enough to allow this to continue anymore.

Now that this is a nationwide problem and now that public transport has shut down in Dublin, the politicians in Dublin might wake up and see that we actually have a problem.

I seem to find that when we have a problem in this country, until Dublin starts to be severely affected it isn’t taken seriously.

I hope now, that Government will see that this issue cannot be allowed to continue and that they will intervene and they should intervene.

transport Rail users at Heuston this morning. Sam Boal Sam Boal

Some good news here from RTÉ’s Dublin Correspondent:

A statement just in from Dublin Bus:

Dublin Bus employees are not a party in the dispute at Bus Éireann. We are currently experiencing severe disruption to our services as a result of orchestrated secondary picketing at our depots by Bus Éireann employees.

There are services operating on a number of routes. A full list of routes is available on our website We advise customers to also check our Twitter account, @dublinbusnews or contact our customer comment line on (01) 8734222 for the most up to date information on our services.

We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.

Some Dublin Bus services are running now.

Irish Rail has confirmed a number of trains, but others are still off.

bus Dublin Bus Dublin Bus

Are this morning’s remarks from NBRU boss Dermot O’Leary having an impact on services?

“I assure you, there was no union involvement in this,” O’Leary said earlier.

I’m urging those who are picketing to stop, and people [at Irish Rail and Dublin Bus] should go to work immediately.
By the way – if you need to keep up to date with the latest on trains, Irish Rail are very good with TWITTER updates, for Dublin Bus go straight to the WEBSITE.

Here’s a quick roundup of the traffic situation in Dublin:

Shane Ross has been speaking to Morning Ireland just now.

Here’s what he said:

Two Bus Éireann drivers who placed pickets at Kent Station in Cork are speaking to Paschal Sheehy of RTÉ on Morning Ireland right now.

One driver says he feels they had no action but to take action.

Earlier, NBRU boss Dermot O’Leary said the action wasn’t officially sanctioned.

Both drivers who spoke to Sheehy said they felt they had to mount pickets this morning. The Bus Éireann strike is now in its eighth day.

Irish Rail is responding to as many customers as possible via Twitter. The feed looks pretty grim this morning.



Passengers in companies that are not involved in the Bus Éireann dispute are being seriously discommoded this morning by a spillover of unofficial protest.  This is not part of the fair conduct of strikes. 

My first concern is with all the passengers affected by this ongoing strike and by this new unofficial and unjustified protest , and I very much regret the impact on them. I understand that the travelling public are, rightly, very angry at having to deal with this sudden, unannounced disruption to their Friday morning and I hugely sympathise with their unforeseen predicament.

I am actively monitoring developments and will revert to the public as soon as the situation becomes clearer.

Some public transport services are operating, particularly Luas and private bus operators and I would advise commuters to check  the journey planner on and associated websites.

“I can tell you categorically the only dispute I have is the official dispute with Bus Éireann,” O’Leary says.

Dermot O’Leary says he is urging those who are picketing at Dublin Bus and Irish Rail locations to stop.

Workers at the two companies should return to work, he says.

O’Leary says that he believes there is no official union backing of this morning’s action.

O’Leary has been one of the main figures behind the Bus Éireann strike to date. There are a number of other unions involved, including Siptu, but O’Leary said that based on his phonecalls early today no senior union officials had organised this.

Dermot O’Leary of the NBRU is on Morning Ireland now.

He says he doesn’t condone secondary picketing.

He knew nothing about it before it happened, he says. 

“I’m due in Stephen’s Green at 9 and it’s actually my first week,” a commuter at Bray station told Morning Ireland’s reporter this morning.

“Bit of a shock in the morning,” a student said.

Barry Kenny of Irish Rail is back on Morning Ireland now.

“It’s easier to tell you what’s running than what’s not,” he says (see an earlier liveblog entry for the latest on rail services).

There are pickets at locations like Connolly and Bray stations this morning, he says, not just at depots or facilities that are shared with Bus Éireann.

Dublin Bus spokesperson Cliodhna Ni Fhatharta says they got no notice of secondary pickets either (pretty much all of the city’s buses are off).

Neither Kenny nor Ni Fhatharta know how long today’s pickets will last.

Ross, the Transport Minister, hasn’t responded to the spread of the industrial action this morning.

Speaking earlier this week he said he was keen to see the spiralling Bus Éireann crisis resolved, but he told TDs he would “not be dictating to management and unions about their internal issues”.

Union bosses who spoke at a protest at the Dáil weren’t too happy with his stance: / YouTube

How are the roads looking, at 8am?

According to AA Roadwatch all the usual routes are very busy in Dublin, and the right lane of the southbound bore of the Port Tunnel is closed due to a reported breakdown.

It’s heavy inbound on the Clontarf Rd from the St Lawrence Rd junction, according to AA Roadwatch. The Lucan Rd is slow inbound from J3 Lucan to the M50 interchange. M50 southbound traffic is busy at Junction 7 Lucan. Northbound traffic is moving well (more details at their site).

In Cork there are delays approaching the Dunkettle Interchange from the M8 Dublin Rd and from before J10 Mahon on the N40 South Ring Rd, amongst other disruptions, says the AA.

In Galway, according to AA Roadwatch, there are southbound delays on the N17 Tuam Rd from Loughgeorge to Claregalway.

There are no major delays in Limerick or Waterford. 

Irish Rail have just sent in a long press release with the latest changes.

Here is is:


Iarnród Éireann advises customers that due to orchestrated secondary picketing by Bus Éireann picketers at a number of locations, extensive disruption can be expected to rail services today.

The vast majority of DART, Dublin Commuter, Cork Commuter and Intercity services are cancelled. We will update our website and Twitter with the latest information.

We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.

Current service arrangements

  • DART – All DART services cancelled
  • Maynooth – All Maynooth/M3 services cancelled.
  • Drogheda – Morning peak services from Drogheda/Dundalk to Dublin currently operating. No services from Dublin to Drogheda/Dundalk
  • Portlaoise/Kildare Commuter – All services cancelled except 08.00 Portarlington to Heuston.
  • Athlone/Dublin commuter – cancelled
  • Sligo/Longford – 05.45 Sligo to Connolly is operating, all other services cancelled in both directions.
  • Cork commuter – all services cancelled
  • Cork/Dublin – all services cancelled in both directions
  • Tralee to Mallow/Cork/Dublin – all services cancelled in both directions except 07.05 Tralee to Mallow.
  • Limerick/Dublin – 05.40 Limerick/Dublin is operating. All other services cancelled in both directions.
  • Limerick/Galway – all services cancelled in both directions
  • Westport/Dublin – all services cancelled in both directions
  • Waterford/Dublin Heuston – 06.00 Waterford to Heuston operating, all other services cancelled in both directions.
  • Galway/Heuston – 05.30 and 06.30 Galway to Heuston operating, all other services cancelled in both directions.
  • Rosslare/Gorey/Dublin Connolly – limited service operating. 05.35 Rosslare Europort to Dublin and 05.55 Gorey to Dublin is running
  • Belfast/Dublin Connolly – limited service operating. 06.30 Newry to Connolly, 06.45 and 08.00 Belfast to Connolly are running. 07.35 Connolly to Belfast cancelled.
  • Waterford/Limerick Junction – all services cancelled in both directions.
  • Limerick/Nenagh via Ballybrophy – all services cancelled in both directions.

If you’re planning on walking to work, here’s the summary this morning from Met Éireann:

The heavy rain over Ulster will soon clear, otherwise bright or sunny spells and scattered showers this morning. But the showers will be fairly widespread and heavy this afternoon and evening, with some thundery downpours in places. Local hill and coastal fog also. Top temperatures of 12 to 16 C, in moderate southerly breezes.

met Met Éireann Met Éireann

Some welcome news for people in certain areas of Dublin, at least (sorry almost entire rest of country).

Only a small number of Dublin Bus services ran very early this morning, the Dublin Bus spokesperson Cliodhna Ni Fhatharta is now telling Morning Ireland.

Other than that all buses are off. 

The company has no idea how long the disruption will last. Hopefully not all day, she said.

There were only a “small number” of buses in operation at the moment, she said.

Those vehicles left depots very early, she reiterated.

AND the Dublin Bus website has just crashed (that’s our information – not the spokesperson’s, to be clear).

Barry Kenny is speaking to Morning Ireland at the moment.

The situation is pretty much as they announced first thing this morning (see bullet points above). You can keep up to date with them via their Twitter feed. 

“We don’t know,” he said, when asked how long the disruption would last.

They had no notice of the picketing, he said – and first became aware of it at around 4am.

Irish Rail would give refunds to whoever wanted them, and would be flexible if people wanted to change trains to another day.

Good morning – Daragh Brophy here with you. We’ll have the latest on this morning’s travel disruption throughout rush hour.

This just in.

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