Dublin Bus strike day four: Traffic building in capital

Some 400,000 people affected but Minister rejectes criticism of ‘being inactive’

 

Following an escalation of the Dublin Bus dispute as unions announced 13 more days of strikes, Minister for Transport Shane Ross has insisted it would still be “wrong” for him to intervene.

Up to 400,000 commuters in the capital face disruption on Friday as Dublin Bus services remain at a standstill amid strike action by drivers.

An incident on the N7 Naas Rd outbound has caused long delays for traffic, according to AA Roadwatch.

It is now easing on the Naas Rd outbound from the Kylemore Rd out past the Red Cow Interchange following an earlier crash. This has meant delays coming from the Drimnagh Road-Long Mile Road approach. The collision also caused traffic to back up on the M50 with extremely long delays heading towards J9 Red Cow from both directions and northbound from before J13 Sandyford.

Southbound delays are easing. The crash on the southbound carriageway after J7 Lucan has also been cleared, according to the AA.

Traffic is also heavy heading towards the M50 as a result, from the Templeogue Rd towards the N81 Tallaght Bypass. It’s very slow too on all approaches to the Walkinstown roundabout and then Ballymount Road is heavy out on to Bothar Katherine Tynan as people avoid the M50 delays.

There have been no further reports of the fuel spill on Baggot St Lower.

Dorset Street is busy inbound from Gardiner Street to Dominick Street. Outbound it is busy from Whitworth Road to Collins Aveneu on Swords Road.

The North Circular Road is very heavy westbound from Seville Place to Doyle’s Corner.

Clonskeagh Road is heavy through Goatstown Road and out to Drummartin Link Road.

The Stillorgan Road is intermittently slow outbound from UCD Flyover to the Leopardstown Road.

It is very busy approaching the Merrion Gates from St Vincent’s hospital on Merrion Road and from Sydney Parade Ave on Strand Road. The same route is heavy inbound from the Beach Road on to the Sean Moore Road and through to Tom Clarke Bridge.

Bus stoppage

Due to a dispute over pay, trade unions representing the bus drivers have planned two or three 24-hour strikes each week until the end of October.

A further 48-hour stoppage had previously been scheduled for Friday and Saturday of next week

The latest strikes announced will take place on: Tuesday and Wednesday, September 27th and 28th; Saturday, October 1st; Wednesday, 5th; Friday, 7th; Monday, 10th; Wednesday, 12th; Friday, 14th; Tuesday, 18th; Wednesday, 19th; Monday, 24th; Wednesday, 26th; and Saturday, 29th.

Mr Ross rejected criticism from opposition TDs that he has been inactive on the issue. “I’m not indifferent at all,” he said. “I’m very eager for it to be resolved.

“I’m certainly not inactive. I’m monitoring it very very closely on an hourly basis. It’s very important to us that we’re not seen to be a soft touch or that we produce this State chequebook. My position remains the same. It wouldn’t be right.”

Responding to People before Profit TD Bríd Smith who said Mr Ross was prepared to intervene in the high-profile Olympics controversy but not the Dublin Bus dispute, he said: “I don’t want to make any high-profile intervention here because I think it would be wrong.

“It would be counterproductive and I don’t want to give anyone the impression that there’s a pot of gold waiting in the State coffers because there isn’t.”

‘Safety issues’

Mr Ross added that a move to open the bus lanes to traffic was still under consideration by his department. “The advice I’m getting, particularly from the RSA, is that it might have really serious safety issues,” he said.

“There would be safety issues, particularly for ambulances and fire services, and for cyclists as well. I’m not ruling it out. I’d love to do it, but the advice I’m getting is there are serious safety issues and I have to take those into account.”

Unions will meet again in mid-October and have warned that further strikes could be announced at that point.

Dublin Bus said the ongoing industrial action was “unnecessary and unjustified”. It said strikes had so far cost it more than €4 million.

Siptu’s Owen Reidy said that, even after three days of strikes, it seemed “the management of Dublin Bus and the Department of Transport have little interest in resolving the outstanding issues”.

“Our members are disappointed that the only response so far from the CEO of Dublin Bus to this dispute has been to call for talks at the Workplace Relations Commission to discuss a Labour Court recommendation that has already been rejected by over 90 per cent of our members. It is not a genuine attempt to find an agreed resolution.”

He said all parties should “commit to a serious negotiation process”.

The general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union, Dermot O’Leary, said it was “unfortunate that Dublin Bus and those responsible for providing a public transport service for the citizens of Dublin will not engage”.