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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business
Tuesday 31 January 2017


“That Dáil Éireann:
recognises that:

— Bus Éireann is in serious financial difficulties with reported losses of €5.3 million in 2016, and greater projected losses in 2017;

— Bus Éireann has said that the company’s finances are in a ‘perilous state’ and that this could lead to job losses unless restructuring proposals are accepted;

— a major contributor to the falling revenues has been the commercial services which have struggled to compete with new market entrants in recent years;

— the company cannot continue to operate in its current loss making position which is depleting its reserves and that without action the company could face liquidity and solvency issues within the next 24 months; and

— any subsidisation of losses of the commercial operations of Bus Éireann, which competes with private enterprises, would likely encounter European Union competition and State Aid issues;

acknowledges:

— that the Report by Grant Thornton faults the Expressway services for the significant losses and recommends the possibility of significant reductions in Expressway services, up to an including Bus Éireann exiting these operations altogether;

— that such action would result in Bus Éireann shutting down many of its key routes serving large swathes of the country, leaving many areas in between big towns and cities with no direct Expressway services to Dublin or other cities and this cannot be considered acceptable;

— the fact that this is being considered as a potential option is creating huge uncertainty and fear and is evidence of the neglect of rural Ireland by this Government; and

— the need for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Government to act urgently to prevent the possibility of nationwide industrial action of the public transport services; and

calls on the Government to:

— commit to the importance of a public sector transport network that is adequately funded;

— take more determined actions to secure the future of Bus Éireann services nationwide, and use its powers as a stakeholder to ensure that there are no changes to the Expressway service and that any restructuring plans are agreed with workers and not imposed unilaterally;

— increase funding to Bus Éireann for free travel passengers as well as examining whether additional routes should be added to the Public Service Obligation contract;

— review the route licencing system, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA), to ensure that wider concerns, such as those regarding rural isolation or whether competition is sustainable on a route, are included in decisions as to whether to grant or refuse bus route licenses to operators; and

— introduce legislation to give the NTA greater licensing powers to approve or reject route amendments by Bus Éireann and private operators.” — Robert Troy, Bobby Aylward, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa M. Chambers, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Timmy Dooley, Sean Fleming, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Micheál Martin, Charlie McConalogue, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Eugene Murphy, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O'Dea, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth