Bus Éireann and transport policy


Sir, – The current situation at Bus Éireann isn’t a destination we just happen to have arrived at by accident or bad management. It’s effectively the last step on a journey embarked on many years ago with precisely this endgame in mind. CIÉ, a body funded from direct taxation (remember those days?), was broken up into a number of semi-states operating in the same field. The next step was to reduce Government subvention to the semi-state operators to such an extent that the company ends up ripe for privatisation. This is the reason for Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s oft-repeated warning that “he won’t ride to the rescue with an open checkbook”. He’s just being honest and consistent. For him to say anything else would contradict his Government’s position. The striking workers realise this is where it is at now. They know the journey as they were participants on the route. They realise now that they have little to lose by taking industrial action. I wish them well, although I fear they won’t gain much ground.

The same mentality we witness in Bus Éireann permeates society in general because, perversely, the concept of running a society has been stripped back to merely running an economy. It goes along these lines: reduce the volume of workers required in a particular entity; then, reduce the wages and conditions of the remaining workers; increase automation; and bring the unions “on board” or eliminate them. This journey continues apace. With side-effects for society as a whole that are both obvious and oblique. – Yours, etc,


Stillorgan, Co Dublin.