29 August 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry this morning expressed strong opposition to Iarnrod Eireann’s suggestion that shutting down 4 routes might be an option and called instead for the reversal of state funding cutbacks which he said had crippled the company.
In a submission to the Labour Court Iarnrod Eireann claims that it is now in a “perilous financial state” and raises the possibility of four route closures.
The routes in question are Limerick-Ballybrophy, Limerick Junction-Waterford, Ennis-Athenry, Gorey-Rosslare and Iarnrod Eireann claim that if a decision were taken to do so the routes could be shut down as early as January 1 2018.
However, the Solidarity TD argued this morning that the option of route closures should be rejected and that the solution to the company’s crisis should lie in increased state investment in rail services starting with a full reversal of the cuts inflicted on the company during the austerity years.
Deputy Barry claimed that the company’s Public Service Obligation funding stood at 189.9 million euro in 2007 and had been slashed to 98.1 million euro by 2015, in other words that it had practically been cut in half.
Deputy Barry said that reversing the railway cuts should involve a decent pay increase for Iarnrod Eireann staff who haven’t had a pay increase now for eight years.
He said: “The route closure option must be decisively rejected and Iarnrod Eireann must get the funding back that was robbed from it in the austerity years. Irish society needs a well-funded rail service run by a well-paid workforce. Trying to continue to run a rail service on the cheap is simply not a runner.”