'This is going to affect my degree. I worked so hard'
A final-year student is extremely anxious that she may not get her degree if a halt is not called to the Bus Éireann strike soon.
Niamh Fitzsimons (22), a final year student from Navan, Co Meath, training to be a secondary school teacher, says her journey to an essential work placement at a school in Ratoath, Co Meath, is already being affected by the strike.
Ms Fitzsimons says she runs the very real risk of not completing the necessary elements to finish her degree if she is forced to miss days of the placement.
"Since the bus strike got under way, I have been forced to get lifts left, right and centre from different people but there's no consistency in the trips I'm getting because it's a case of I might be able to get a lift, or I may not," Ms Fitzsimons, a student at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin, said.
"And that's sent my life into chaos. I'm really thankful to the kind people who have been giving me lifts but I am really angry about this bus strike.
"I'm afraid this strike is going to affect my degree. I've worked so hard for it but if I don't get enough hours' school time, then I don't get my degree.
"I feel that Bus Éireann should have had a contingency plan of some sort and it should have given commuters more notice.
"This is about keeping the country working and right now I'm really badly affected by the strike, as are many people.
"It's a massive inconvenience. I really want the Government and unions to come to the table to sort it out."
Ms Fitzsimons said the strike has affected some areas in rural Ireland in particular.
"It's a bad situation and it's wrong to prolong a strike because so many people in rural communities are severely affected," she said.
"Meath is worse affected than a lot of places because of a lack of private bus companies.
"I don't want this bus strike to affect my degree. It isn't right. This is hitting students, workers, people with hospital appointments.
"I know I'm not alone and I know others must be really angry too.
"I commute on Bus Éireann every day, it's my main mode of transport, but at the moment I'm struggling."