Protest over Dublin Bus cuts

 

Cuts to Dublin Bus services have left some people prisoners in their homes, a protest by residents in Dublin city centre heard earlier today.

Speaking outside the Dublin Bus offices on O’Connell Street, Richard Boyd Barrett TD said that people in working class areas were “raging” about local services being rerouted away.

“Some of the older and disabled people are literally prisoners in their homes now as a result of the cut or discontinuation of the service they previously relied on” he said.

Approximately 12 months ago, Dublin Bus embarked on a network re-design, based on recommendations contained in a strategic review of the company. It was expected to save the company €12 million.

Under the plan, entitled ‘Network Direct’, routes were “straightened out” to operate on the most direct paths from the suburbs to the city centre.

According to Dublin Bus the changes made were to result in a more streamlined service with more direct, regular, frequent and reliable services.

Today’s protest by residents from a number of communities along with Sinn Féin and People Before profit was aimed to stop phase two of ‘Network Direct’ which is planned to take place over the coming months with further streamlining of routes.

Martin O’Reilly, an elderly resident of Ballyfermot who attended today’s protest said that the proposed re-routing of the 76 bus out of Ballyfermot would be detrimental to many in the community.

“The 76 is a very important route in our area especially for students going to college from Clondalkin and beyond” he said.

Mr O’Reilly also said that the route was of invaluable personal benefit to him during a six week stretch in Tallaght hospital as it allowed his family to visit him daily.

“If that’s taken away we have no way of getting to Tallaght Hospital - above any bus in Ballyfermot we want that (the 76 bus) maintained because it is a very vital bus to get to the hospital” he said.

Sinn Féin activist Eoin Ó Broin said that the cuts to Dublin Bus were all part of what he labelled as misguided government policy.

“This is about investment; you can’t cut your way out a recession because the more you cut the more you deflate the economy” he said

“The issues of productivity need to be raised but you don’t cut frontline services and you don’t put public servants out of jobs” he added.

Some of the areas represented by residents today included Ballyfermot, Dun Laoghaire, Clondalkin and Rathcoole.