Sunday 25 February 2018

CIE won't get €36m bailout until it delivers reforms, warns Varadkar

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has accused CIE of not delivering the reforms needed to reduce its costs.

Despite cutting staff and making savings of €175m since 2008, the company will not get any more state funding until it makes these reforms, he warned.

His comments came after the Irish Independent revealed earlier this week that a €36m emergency bailout for Iarnrod Eireann and Dublin Bus had been withheld, despite being promised last July.

Mr Varadkar confirmed the money was available, but would not be paid until a deal was secured with unions on changes to work practices, the sale of non-core assets went through and new lines of bank credit secured.

"There's been very little progress on many of those fronts ," he said at the launch of 80 new vehicles for Dublin Bus.

"I can't, in clear conscience, hand over additional taxpayers' money until the companies and unions do their bit, too.''

The minister said: "There's no deadline. We're not going to allow the public transport system to collapse. The €36m in additional subvention is still available but while it might solve the problem for this year, it might not solve the problem for next year. I can't have the companies coming back every three months looking for more."

Last July the Government announced a €36m cash injection into CIE.

But none of the money was handed over, and now passengers face the prospect of cuts in bus and rail services and additional fare hikes.

Both Iarnrod Eireann and Dublin Bus expect to report a loss of €40m for 2011 and are relying on the €36m payment to keep services running.

Bus Eireann will not receive any of it and is expected to post a surplus of €500,000 for 2011.

Irish Independent

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