Following my intervention in the threatened Bus Éireann strike in July 1997, I discussed the matter with my Cabinet colleagues. During those discussions the possible need for a facilitator to assist in resolving the dispute was mentioned. I subsequently held a series of consultations with management and unions in the CIE companies and with the Labour Relations Commission. There was general agreement that the negotiations on their restructuring programmes in each of the CIE companies should continue with the assistance of facilitators appointed by the Labour Relations Commission. There was also a view that CIE should retain the services of a suitably qualified person from outside the company to assist in the co-ordination of its approach to the negotiations.
I put this view to the company and suggested that the person referred to in the Deputy's question might fulfil that role. The company considered this view and in a press statement dated 31 July 1997, the CIE chairman announced that in order to facilitate swift progress in these negotiations CIE was willing to appoint a facilitator with a view to achieving early agreement. CIE subsequently appointed the person referred to in the Deputy's question as a change management specialist to assist the individual operating companies in the negotiations.