Minister must take responsibility for consequences of his inaction in public transport – Imelda Munster TD

Minister Ross must protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network – Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has said the Minister for Transport needs to engage with all stakeholders to find a resolution to the current crisis at Bus Éireann.

Calling for an increase in funding for the Free Travel Scheme, he said that the Minister’s aim must be to “ensure we find a way to protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network”.

Teachta Adams said:

“The management of Bus Éireann have recently announced measures that threaten the rights of bus workers. By slashing overtime and Sunday rates and cutting pay, management is forcing the issue to an industrial dispute. This race to the bottom when it comes to workers’ pay and conditions is completely unacceptable.

“A huge amount of people, particularly in rural Ireland, rely on Bus Éireann services. They are the young, the old, the poor, the rural dweller, the tourist.

“It is possible with good management, by listening to transport users and workers and taking on board what they have to say, to create a service which will attract more people to use public transport.

“That should be the Government’s position. It is not the position of the Minister for Transport Shane Ross. He has a responsibility to ensure the future sustainability of Bus Éireann.

“There are a range of decisions he could take, including a full review of the Expressway service, a review of loss making routes on which private carriers currently operate and a review of the number of private licenses issued on these routes.

“There should also be an increase in funding for the Free Travel Pass. As it currently stands, the amount allocated covers just 41% of the cost of the average journey. This has contributed significantly to losses at Expressway.

“The Minister needs to provide clarity regarding routes and services that have been identified for potential closure and he needs to engage with all of the stakeholders immediately in order to prevent serious travel disruption.

“His aim must be to ensure that together we find a way to protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network.

“So, I would urge the Taoiseach to ensure that Minister Ross engages with all stakeholders, including the Department of Transport, the National Transport Authority, Bus Éireann and the unions to find a resolution to this issue without delay.”

4 Tipperary TDs believe they should get pay increase, Sinn Féin calls foul

PRESS RELEASE
2016-11-14

The Sinn Féin Tiobraid Árann council team are furious at the rejection by Tipperary TDs of a Sinn Féin Dáil motion last week. The motion was to stop TDs getting a €5000 wage increase over the next two years. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are very much in alliance in councils across the country and more strikingly in the Oireachtas. This latest example of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil joining forces to defeat a motion is further proof that there is only one real opposition voice in the Dáil and that is Gerry Adams and the Sinn Féin Dáil team. Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill voted with the government against the motion. Even in opposition Alan Kelly and his Labour colleagues voted for a pay increase as did Michael Lowry TD. Mattie McGrath TD was absent from the vote but has put on record that he would have voted against the motion had he been present.

The Sinn Féin council team cannot see any justification for TDs voting to increase their own income when Tipperary people are suffering on a continuous basis from the mismanagement of the country by this and former governments. Instead Sinn Féin believe that the use of Dáil time and state funds should be used to address more important issues. There are industrial disputes ongoing with the Gardaí and teachers and Sinn Féin believes that the Landsdown Road agreement is now finished and a new policy must be agreed with all stakeholders. In Tipperary at the moment there is a health crisis, a mental health crisis, a housing crisis, unemployment and youth unemployment levels are very high and economic emigration continues across our towns and villages. These are the real issues.

A joint statement from Sinn Féin Tiobraid Árann Councillors:

“This is an issue of fairness. We are still witnessing a two-tier recovery. The legacy of cuts to pay and public services continues to place enormous pressure on ordinary people and households.

The Lansdowne Road Agreement failed to address the issue of pay inequality for post-2011 entrants, while giving partial pay restoration to those on wages over €65,000.

In this context is it wrong for TDs to jump the queue. The fact that the first repayment to TDs and senators will take place on 1 April 2017 is a joke in very poor taste. Sinn Féin opposed the terms and conditions of the various FEMPI acts. When the legislation was first brought to the House we put forward amendments to reduce Deputies’ pay to €75,000. This was rejected of course, and TDs continue to be very-well paid.

Currently, a public sector worker on an average salary of between €35,000 and €40,000 per annum will receive a less than €20 a week increase or restoration, yet TDs who are on over €87,258, will see their salary rise to €92,672. We do not believe that is justified.

It is unfair that somebody on €30,000 or €40,000 per year, an average wage in the public sector, is getting pay restoration of under €20 while Deputies are expected to take over €100 a week.

Sinn Féin TDs will not take this pay increase even though our motion was not successful.”

ENDS