Irish Rail forecasts three years in red after €21m loss
IARNROD Eireann expects to continue to post losses for another three years.
The company's annual report says it lost €20.9m last year, and does not expect to return to profitability until 2016.
This is despite Transport Minister Leo Varadkar telling the CIE group of companies, which includes Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, that he expects a dramatic improvement in their financial position from next year.
Bus Eireann made a small profit last year while Dublin Bus lost €18m, but the latter expects to halt the losses and record a surplus by 2014.
However, Iarnrod Eireann said it would be forced to rely on additional funding, and that it has to renegotiate its bank borrowings of €107m next year.
Details of CIE's 2011 annual report, revealed by the Irish Independent yesterday, shows that bus and rail passengers will be hit with years of repeated fare hikes as the companies struggle to make ends meet.
Routes with low passenger numbers face the prospect of being axed or having services severely reduced, while job losses are also on the cards.
CIE is desperately trying to turn around a €40m loss last year to a break-even situation in 2013, with doubts raised about whether it can survive as a going concern.
The Government has insisted the company will not be bailed out, with junior transport minister Michael Ring saying it had to make ends meet.
"They cannot keep coming back to the Government," he told the Dail. "They have to put a business plan in place to keep them competitive."