Friday 28 October 2016

Public patience is wearing seriously thin with the rail unions

Published 26/10/2015 | 02:30

Jack O’Connor: Siptu called strike
Jack O’Connor: Siptu called strike

Outrageous disruption was been inflicted on over 40,000 railway users last Friday because trade unions accuse Irish Rail of being 'Thatcher-like' in response to claims for pay increases in respect of past productivity - a spurious argument that is not sustained by evidence.

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The 2014 annual report of Irish Rail shows that while its revenue increased last year by €23m, payroll costs increased by €18m.

The generation of an annual turnover of €218m was not achievable without €194m in taxpayer-funded subsidies in 2014, an increase of €52m over those granted in 2013.

Irish Rail had a deficit of more than €135m at the end of 2014, despite the State handouts. But in citing Mrs Thatcher, it would seem that trade unions are wedded to a mindset that became obsolete 40 years ago and has no relevance to current circumstances.

Irish Rail declared that pay and productivity proposals to yield €8.5m savings in 2015 would materialise.

Will they?

It would appear that the critical contributors to sustaining Irish Rail are taxpayers, not train drivers.

The parties involved in this dispute might take into account that public tolerance of their self-indulgent whims is not infinite.

Further disruption will intensify calls for an alternative business model of rail transport other than that of the old-fashioned one that seems to prevail at present and which completely disregards the enormous impact on taxpayers and the unwarranted inconvenience for rail customers.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin


Travellers face dreadful racism

The loss of 10 lives in the Carrickmines fire is tragic, but not just for the families affected. Far more tragic is the response of our society to this community and the bare-faced racism it has exposed.

I am a blow-in from America, a country increasingly known for its hostile stance towards immigrants and endemic maltreatment of ethnic minorities. One of the things I love about Ireland is the generally good response that immigrants receive.

Certainly, there are tiers of acceptability. Americans and Western Europeans are grand, those from Central Europe (notably Poland) are hard-working and are okay too. Eastern Europeans tend to be looked up a bit more suspiciously. Brazilians (we've a fair few over this end of the country) are also seen as hard-working and okay. Asians and South/Central Americans are basically novelties on our island.

Africans, well... I think their community would describe Irish attitudes towards them as mixed. In general, they seem accepted but are looked upon with deep suspicion as economic opportunists, seen as taking away jobs from people who "deserve" them. Utter nonsense, of course - here we're seeing the same immigrant-racist-nonsense that pollutes the American airwaves.

But Travellers... my God, I have not seen such outright, blatant racism. It is little wonder that the travelling community has little time or respect for settled people. Maybe we should consider that Traveller attitudes towards the settled are a reflection of settled attitudes towards Travellers.

I laud the Irish Independent for trying to highlight the problem. The two-page spread on October 24 featuring Seán Moncrieff's writing really cut to the point and Sara Jane Dunne's commentary on October 25 was similarly damning of Irish attitudes towards the travelling community.

I note, however, that in reports from the courts it is sometimes mentioned that someone is a member of the travelling community. I would like to suggest your editorial process be revised to look for any mention of the word "Traveller" and ask if the word is really necessary to the story.

Phil Miesle

Roslevan, Ennis, Co Clare


With regard to the issue of the Carrickmines tragedy in particular, and the travelling community as a whole, one thing keeps rising to the surface.

Of course it is horrific what has happened to those families and we as a people should do whatever we can to help. However, I keep hearing the term 'racism' used in connection with those who are against settlement of Travellers in their neighbourhoods.

Pardon my ignorance, but I was unaware that Irish Travellers born to Irish parents were of a different race from the 'settled community.'

Using the term 'racism' for any form of discrimination (perceived or real) has become commonplace and all it seems to do is to devalue the impact of the word.

Patrick Rudden

St Helen's Road, Booterstown, Co Dublin


Get the rental market moving

According to the IPOA, residential landlords want the same tax breaks afforded to them as their commercial counterparts, ie 100pc of overheads as deductible income. Not an unreasonable request.

In return for this, our Government should employ the Swiss model where all rental properties, vacant or not, are subject to taxation, based not on their value as fixed assets but on a percentage of their average rental potential.

This would encourage full occupancy at all times and be an incentive towards rent certainty.

Eileen O'Sullivan

Bray Head Terrace, Vevay Road, Bray


Kenny must look to the future

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has spoken in detail for the first time about being warned to have the Army on standby in order to prevent a run on the country's banks. He appears to be much more interested in talking about the past than the future.

I'm sure the people are sick and tired of the Government rambling on about the downturn, a time when they must have been fast asleep on the opposition benches.

Everybody knows what happened in the past - what the people now want is a Government that focuses on this country's future!

Séamus McLoughlin


Co Leitrim


Do not waste your votes

Surely I am not the only person who believes that a vote for an Independent is a wasted vote? To get things done, one must vote for a party which has an agenda and will stick to it. To coin a well-known phrase: "You know it makes sense!"

Eileen Malone

Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham, D 14


What did they do in the hour?

What does the Government do with the hour it saves?

John Williams

Clonmel, Tipperary

Irish Independent

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