CIÉ appeals for delay on publication of accounts
STATE-OWNED public transport group CIÉ wants to delay publication of its 2011 accounts until next year while it deals with the financial pressures facing its companies.
CIÉ is owner of the State’s bus and rail transport companies. It received an additional €36 million in Government aid in July and was due to publish its figures at the end of September.
However, it has asked Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to extend the deadline for publication of the 2011 figures until the end of January 2013.
In a statement yesterday, the group said its board requires “additional time to assure themselves that appropriate plans for the long-term financial sustainability and funding is in place for the company”.
This is the second extension that it has sought. CIÉ was originally due to publish the figures in the spring.
The department said that Mr Varadkar did not favour extending the deadline to January and added that the Minister intended discussing the matter with CIÉ chairwoman Vivienne Jupp to get the group to publish its figures as soon as possible.
CIÉ said that while it is seeking the January extension, it hopes to be in a position to publish the accounts before that.
Gerry Mullins, who represents independent rivals to CIÉ’s bus companies, said the group’s continued failure to publish accounts prevented the public from knowing about serious problems confronting the group.
In July, the Government provided CIÉ with €36 million in emergency aid to ensure its operating companies could meet their public service obligations.
Most recent group accounts show that CIÉ’s operations lost €52.5 million in 2010, down from €77 million the previous year.
Its revenues in 2010 came to €999 million, of which €288 million was exchequer funding.
When he came into Government, Mr Varadkar pledged to reduce subsidies to the public transport group.
Responding to a query from Mr Mullins, who is chief executive of the Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CCTC), the Minister said in August that the money would not be used to subsidise any of the group’s commercial services.
Instead, CIÉ group companies were to use it only to pay for public service contracts already agreed with the National Transport Authority.
Mr Mullins’ organisation was concerned that it would be used to subsidise commercial operations, such as the expressway services run by Bus Éireann, which competes with many of the CCTC’s members.
The Cabinet agreed to give CIÉ the cash injection at its meeting on July 24th. Mr Varadkar and his Minister of State colleague, Alan Kelly, confirmed that the group was getting the subsidy after that meeting.
Mr Varadkar’s letter to Mr Mullins indicated that the €36 million had been raised through savings in a number of areas, including in the public transport capital-spending programme.
Mr Mullins said yesterday that CIÉ’s constituent companies are Bus Éireann, which operates all its bus services outside the capital, Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann, which operates the Republic’s rail services.