Bus Éireann unions warned that the closure of strategic routes across Ireland as part of a desperate cost-cutting campaign will represent an economic body blow for rural areas.
The warning came as hundreds attended a 'Save Our Bus Service' campaign rally in Tipperary last night in advance of Monday's planned all-out strike by NBRU and Siptu members in Bus Éireann.
The Clonmel meeting of the NBRU's 'Save Our Buses' campaign attracted a particularly large crowd because the Clonmel-Dublin route is one of those facing the axe.
NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary said the proposal was proof "the transport needs of rural Ireland seem to be of a lesser value" than services in large urban areas.
Clonmel locals were appalled by the proposed route cuts.
"I use the Clonmel to Dublin service quite a bit because I have a daughter living in Dublin. I don't know what I would do without it," Mary McGrath said.
As the country faces the possibility of the worst public transport dispute in many years, we have to seriously ask, what has gone wrong? The narrative of the industrial relations blame game goes something like this.