Legal challenge on privatisation
A trade union has launched a legal challenge to the proposed privatisation of bus routes by the National Transport Authority.
The National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) claims the NTA's decision to subject almost 30 routes to public tender breaches the exclusive rights to operate the routes guaranteed to Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus.
The routes include those in Dublin's commuter areas, and in Waterford. The award contracts are due to be made in April 2016.
The NBRU claims the exclusive operation rights were conferred under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008.
In correspondence with the union, lawyers for the NTA said it is entitled to make the decision to invite tenders for the routes.
The NBRU says it has launched the action because of its concerns about the effects of privatising routes currently operated by the State bus companies. It fears the decisions could lead to the demise of both Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.
The NBRU, and one of its 3,000 members, Pauric Wall, who operates a route for Bus Éireann, seek orders quashing three decisions by the NTA made on January 22 to subject certain routes to a tender process.
Permission to bring the action was granted on an ex parte (one-side only represented) basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who made the matter returnable to June.