Thursday, 16 April 2015
Order of Business
I support the agenda today, which is very worthwhile. The Valuation (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill is a very important Bill which should be passed as quickly as possible. The Roads Bill 2014 is also substantial legislation which will get proper scrutiny in this House.
Will the Leader ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, to come to the House to try to avert the threatened strike on 1 May by the busmen's union on account of the reorganisation of transport in the city of Dublin? In particular, will the Minister deal with the threat the drivers feel to their jobs in Dublin Bus? I think there is a certain conflict of interest in the sense that the Minister is the Minister for both transport and tourism. On the one hand he is promoting the Wild Atlantic Way and the new project he is putting forward but this strike has the potential to cause terrible damage to the tourism industry at a very vulnerable and sensitive time. Negotiations should continue and the Minister should desist from forcing the issue at this stage. Ministers in the past have resisted similar proposals for the city of Dublin, though not for new routes outside Dublin such as to Cork etc., where there has been competition for some time.
In the city of Dublin the Luas has been operative since 2002 and Fianna Fáil should be very proud of the fact that, in Government, we built and developed the Luas, which will now be expanded and is in direct competition with Dublin Bus. On Tuesday evening I visited a family in a suburb of Dublin and I used the Luas instead of Dublin Bus. It is a very efficient and effective service and it will be more so when the two lines are linked up.There is major competition for Dublin Bus, which employs 3,200 staff and is a major employer in the city of Dublin. The people of Dublin have great affection for Dublin Bus. Given that this House contains people like Senator Barrett who have great knowledge, the Minister would get tremendous advice by coming to this House, putting his views to it and getting a responsible approach from Members of this House. Will the Leader to arrange for the Minister to come to the House as soon as possible to discuss the issue? I appeal to the National Bus and Railworkers Union to call off the threatened strike on 1 May because it will damage the tourism industry in the city of Dublin. A strike at the very start of the tourism season would give visitors to Dublin a very bad impression.