Commuters and rail strikers air grievances at train station
The strike affected an estimated 100,000 people yesterday, and the disruption is not yet over
Workers strike at Connolly station yesterday. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Frustrated commuters and rail strikers converged yesterday at a Dublin city centre train station on the second day of industrial action that brought the country’s rail travel to a halt.
Security guards at the entrance to Connolly Station turned away surprised commuters and disappointed tourists laden with luggage, while members of the National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) and Siptu picketed outside.
The strike affected an estimated 100,000 people yesterday, and the disruption is not yet over. Three additional days of strike action are planned for next month.
Sasha, a commuter, left her house at 6.10am for Heuston Station yesterday to catch the first train to Tullamore. Three hours later, she was waiting for a bus at Connolly Station.
“I didn’t know there was a strike because I didn’t watch the news or read the paper, so I went [to Heuston Station] and found out there were no trains. So I had to come here to get the bus. I feel bad because I was expected to start working. I’m delayed,” she said.
Others were surprised because they did not expect the rail strike to impact their commute by bus.
One commuter said 10 packed buses passed her by yesterday morning while she waited at her usual stop on the Howth Road. It took an hour before a bus with enough room allowed her aboard. She phoned her employers in Ballymount to let them know she would be at least 90 minutes late for work.
One self-described “irate traveller” came to Connolly Station to catch a train home to Mullingar after staying in Dublin for the weekend. Instead, he was outside waiting for a bus.
“I can’t get home…There’s one phrase that you never have to use in Ireland: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of Iarnród Éireann employees picketed below a broken clock at the station’s side entrance.
“How can you expect managers to fix the situation at Irish Rail when they can’t even fix a broken clock? That’s everything in a nutshell,” said train driver Seán Judd. “You’re not running trains for profit, you’re running them for people so they can get to the shops and do whatever they have to do.”
Bus Éireann laid on extra services on its intercity routes yesterday.