Private bus operators pay lower wages than Bus Éireann

State company pays average of €48,819 while rivals pay between €30,000 and €39,000

A mix of multinational and Irish-owned companies compete with Bus Éireann on routes mainly connecting the country’s big population centres with each other.

They are smaller than the State company and employ fewer people, who earn less than their peers at Bus Éireann.

Bus Éireann paid its 2,487 workers an average of €52,539 in 2015, based on its €130.67 million wage bill. Bus Éireann contributed €9.25 million to its workers’ retirement pot. Taking that out, the State company paid its staff an average of €48,819 last year.


This is one of Bus Éireann’s best-known rivals. Aircoach operates a network of routes connecting Dublin Airport with the city centre and suburbs, as well as



and Cork.

British multinational First Groupowns Aircoach through a company called Last Passive. Figures show it earned a €3 million profit in the 12 months to the end of March 2015.

Last Passive employed 191 people whom it paid a total of €7.505 million, or an average of €39,300 each. Aircoach’s total pension payment for the year was €45,000. Excluding pension costs, Aircoach paid workers an average of €39,050.


Citylink operates services between Dublin and the airport and Galway, Cork and


. The company is based in Galway but its ultimate owner is a


multinational, ComfortDelGro.

The Irish company, Irish Citylink Comfort Delgro Ltd, earned a profit of €1.35 million in 2014, the last year for which figures are available.

Details on staffing show that it employed 11 people in 2014. It paid them a total of €426,573 in wages and social welfare contributions, an average of €38,780 each. There was no pension fund or contributions listed.

JJ Kavanagh

JJ Kavanagh & Sons is owned by the Kavanagh family and based in


, Co Kilkenny. It has a series of networks across the southeast, midlands and midwest connecting Dublin,


, Limerick and Shannon. It also operates local, town and college services as well as coach hire and tours.

Accounts for JJ Kavanagh & Sons Ltd show it made a profit of €133,475 in the 12 months to the end of February 2015. It paid 53 customer service and administrative staff €1.306 million, which included a pension contribution of €110,441. This worked out at an average of close to €25,000.

A linked company, Kenneallys Bus Services, owned by JJ and Paul Kavanagh, lost €53,000 in the 12 months to the end of April 2015. Kenneallys employed 79 people last year, 74 of them drivers. Its wage bill was €1.8 million, including a €151,000 pension contribution, which means workers are paid an average of €37,100.


Founded in 1995 by Paddy and

Mary Matthews

, this company provides commuter services along the east coast to Dublin, along with coach hire and tours. It earned profits of nearly €623,000 in the 12 months to the end of August 2015.

Matthews employed 71 people in 2015. They were paid a total of €2.12 million, including a €180,000-plus pension contribution. This equates to an average wage of just under €30,000.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas