Athlone-Westport bus route changes postponed

Bus Éireann proposals to axe the Athlone to Westport bus service have been postponed.

The company had planned to withdraw from the route on Easter Sunday, April 16, as part of cost-cutting measures. However, the strike action which has dominated headlines for the past number of weeks meant that plans to do so were never put in place. It is understood that Bus Éireann will continue to operate the service for another week, before the National Transport Authority (NTA ) steps in to continue its facilitation due to a public service obligation.

The nationwide strike by Bus Éireann workers was suspended on Thursday last week when the Labour Court made recommendations aimed at resolving the dispute. Services returned to normal on Good Friday and the workers’ unions are currently mulling over the proposals issued to them, which include 200 job cuts, cuts to earnings of over €60,000, and freezes on increments.

Bus Éireann estimates the strike cost up to €500,000 per day and it informed the Labour Court that the company is now insolvent.

A statement released by Bus Éireann said management and the board “will give due consideration to the very detailed Court recommendation document” in the coming weeks.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, expressed his satisfaction regarding the cessation of the strike action.

“I have no doubt the return to services will be particularly welcome in rural Ireland and in our regional cities, which have been severely impacted by the disruptions of recent weeks,” he said.

“I would like to thank the trade unions, management, the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission for their hard work in what has been a period of intense discussions for all parties.”

Minister Ross also said he is willing to set up a public forum for all stakeholders once the industrial dispute has fully concluded.

“I will establish a Public Transport Stakeholder Dialogue in order to advance the commitment within the Programme for a Partnership Government to instigate a review of public transport policy. In the coming weeks, I will announce further details,” he said.

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