Saturday 17 March 2018

Thousands of Slane concert goers may be stranded if planned bus strikes go ahead

Calls for emergency measures to prevent strike 'tourism disaster'


Elaine McCahill

Thousands of Slane concert goers may have find an alternative way to get to the famous venue if the planned bus strikes go ahead.

In 2013, Dublin Bus carried 8,000 revellers to both the Eminem and Bon Jovi concerts from the city centre.

However, MCD who run the concerts, have dismissed worries about the May 30 event, with Foo Fighters as the headline act.

"The majority of fans attending from the Republic and Northern Ireland use independent licensed coach operators. Like all customers and businesses, we will continue to monitor the situation and if required, implement contingency plans. The concert will go ahead as scheduled," a spokesperson told the Herald.

SIPTU and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) are planning to hold two 48-hour stoppages on May 1 and 2, as well as May 15 and 16.

The NBRU are also planning a three-day strike on May 29, 30 and 31. Meanwhile, a representative for the Restaurants Association of Ireland has encouraged the Government to bring in the army to drive buses if the planned strikes go ahead.

"It will be a complete disaster for tourism - the bus drivers are trying to put the country and the economic recovery to ransom by what they're doing," Adrian Cummins said.

"When tourists come into the country and they can't get around the place, what are they going to do?

"The Government needs to bring in an emergency measure where they try and get the army to drive the buses and just make sure it happens to show that this isn't going to be put up with. Obviously our industry is going to suffer because of this. People take the bus if they're going to come into the city for a night out.

"Trade will suffer and if you're staying in a hotel on the outskirts of the city, you'll have to get a taxi and that's extra cost as well," he added.

Elsewhere, Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said that the planned strikes would cause grave difficulties for both passengers and the companies themselves.

"On Monday we were facing two hours of industrial action but we are now facing seven days of planned action," he told RTE Radio 1.

"It's absolutely crucial that we understand that if that magnitude of activity were to go ahead it would cause grave damage to commuters, public bus users all over the country and to the companies themselves.

"We need to step back from the kind of dynamic we saw on Monday and engage in the Labour relations Commission (LRC) and deal with these matters inside that framework."


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