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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 20 January 2022

Paschal Donohoe won't get involved in the Irish Rail dispute as All-Ireland day strikes loom

The Transport Minister said he appreciates how difficult it is for workers to vote to cut their own pay.

Paschal Donohoe was appointed Transport Minister in the reshuffle last month
Paschal Donohoe was appointed Transport Minister in the reshuffle last month
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

TRANSPORT MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has given no indication that he will directly intervene in the dispute between Irish Rail and workers as strikes on the weekends of the All-Ireland football and hurling finals loom.

Donohoe told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that while he was sympathetic to the workers the cost-cutting measures are essential for the future viability of Irish Rail.

The National Bus & Railworkers’ Union (NBRU) recently announced that Irish Rail workers will conduct a two-day work stoppage starting on 24 August, the day of the first All-Ireland football semi-final, and further strikes on 7 and 21 September, the days of both All-Ireland finals.

This follows a long-running dispute over Labour Court recommendations that cost cutting measures, including a pay reduction of up to 5 per cent for some workers, be implemented to help Irish Rail tackle its spiralling deficit.

Donohoe said this morning the train company has accumulated losses of €147 million in recent years and lost €17 million last year alone.

“That is the subject at the moment of ongoing discussion between management within Irish Rail and unions. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever to relish in this situation at all,” he said while giving no indication that he will intervene.

He pointed out that a “very large number” of Irish Rail workers have voted for the cost-saving measures.

The Fine Gael TD said: “I absolutely appreciate how difficult it is to ask workers in any company at all to vote to cut their own pay. But these are measures that have been implemented across the rest of our civil and public service.”

He said he felt “very strongly” about the fact that the strike days are targeted at “iconic sporting events”.

Donohoe added: “Everybody has played a part in this. Everybody needs to come together to do all possible to make sure these savings are delivered.”

Earlier this week the general secretary of the NBRU, Dermot O’Leary told this website there is no prospect of the strikes being called off.

“As long as the company maintains its position in relation to these cuts,” said O’Leary, “the strikes will go ahead as planned.”

Union boss: All-Ireland day strikes will go ahead, despite what Paschal Donohoe says

Read: Strike by Irish Rail workers to hit All-Ireland semi and finals

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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