Tuesday 6 December 2016

Consultation vital to halt transport strike

Published 22/09/2016 | 02:30

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

The gathering transport threats at Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, and now Iarnród Éireann, must be contained. The breakdown in relations bears all the hallmarks of "mutually assured destruction" as management and unions go to war, and the nation's commuters become collateral damage.

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Transport Minister Shane Ross is adamant he will not intervene. But his way of "not intervening" leaves much to be desired. Yesterday, he explained that he did not wish to be seen as a "sugar daddy". This was a regrettable term given the explosive situation: The Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as: "A rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favour." One can appreciate that Mr Ross had no interest in being regarded in such a light. But his choice of words will have done little to build bridges.

Resentments that have been simmering over the austerity years are in danger of erupting. The Government needs to be protecting its flanks not opening up new fronts. The whole scenario is beginning to feel like it came straight out of the Homer Simpson playbook: "If you don't like your job you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way."

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