Monday 19 August 2019

'Traffic at complete standstill' - Live updates as commuter chaos hits the country on day two of Irish Rail strike

Kylie Mooney (29) waiting for a Bus on the Clobtarf Rd.
Kylie Mooney (29) waiting for a Bus on the Clobtarf Rd.
Busy Bus on Clontarf Rd.
Full Bus on Clontarf Rd
Sandra Kater (45) waiting for a Bus on the Clontarf Rd
Connolly Train Station.
Connolly Train Station.
Kevin O’Shea (31) waiting for a Bus on the Clontarf Rd.
Irish Rail staff are in dispute over pay.

Sean Nolan, Sasha Brady and Conor Feehan

Over 150,000 commuters are facing traffic chaos this morning as Irish Rail holds its second day of strike action.

Following a similar action last Wednesday, this morning commuters are facing headaches as there are no services operating on Intercity, DART or Commuter routes.

According to Iarnród Eireann, the action will affect over 150,000 journeys today.

Striking train drivers caused a commuting nightmare for thousands of workers and students this morning.

On the second day of their industrial action people who would normally use the train or Dart to get to Dublin City had to find an alternative.

Buses were full to capacity a long time before they normally would be, and many commuters were left standing at bus stops as a result.

This put further pressure on the road system and many had to give up and start walking, knowing they would be late for school, college and work.

There was a noticeable increase in car traffic volumes, and the cycle lanes had more cyclists than usual also.

Sandra Kater (45) waiting for a Bus on the Clontarf Rd
Sandra Kater (45) waiting for a Bus on the Clontarf Rd

On the Howth Road at the bus stop that serves the 29a, 31a, 31b and 32 buses there was a large number of commuters at 8am.

“I’ve been here ten minutes and three buses have gone by and could not stop because they were full,” said Sandra Kater (45).

“I’m going to Stephen’s Green and I’ve had to tell my team I will be late. I might start walking,” she told

“I know people strike for a reason, but this has so much impact on everyone. It is huge,” Sandra added as another bus went by without stopping and she put her Leap card back in her wallet.

It was the same situation for Kylie Mooney (29) who was trying to commute to the city centre for work.

“Last week I saw 13 buses in a row go by here without stopping. I’ve just contacted someone to come and collect me and give me a lift,” she said.

Kevin O’Shea (31) waiting for a Bus on the Clontarf Rd.
Kevin O’Shea (31) waiting for a Bus on the Clontarf Rd.

In Fairview the situation was the same.

Bus after bus drove past the busy stop where the cycle lane was bustling with two-wheel commuters.

Colm Meagher (50) decided to walk into town instead of wait for a bus.

“You’d normally get a bus no problem, but three or four have gone by now and haven't stopped,” he said.

He said the train drivers were right to strike.

Busy Bus on Clontarf Rd.
Busy Bus on Clontarf Rd.

“It’s an inconvenience, but an acceptable inconvenience for me. Fair play to them for striking for what they believe in, but somebody should step in now and sort it out,” he said.

Here is the latest traffic and travel news:

Dublin Bus have confirmed they are operating a full service this morning.

However, they have reported that Real Time Information (RTPI) is not available this morning but they advised customers that they are working to get this resolved.

AA Roadwatch are warning drivers to expect heavier traffic today due to the industrial action. It's estimated that more than 150,000 have been cancelled today.

In Dublin, traffic is extremely busy along all city centre routes.

It's particularly heavy along the N3/M3 Navan Road. It's also busy along from Cabra Cross through to Doyle's Corner on the North Circular Road and from the Old Cabra Road right through to Prussia Street, Stoneybatter and the city centre.

Delays of 20 minutes and longer are reported along the M50.

The Howth Road is at a "complete standstill", according to Dublin City FM's Live Drive. They also report a delay of 31 minutes from the Port Tunnel to Collins Avenue and a further 40 minutes to Dorset Street.

On the Swords Road, there are delays from the Whitehall Flyover to Drumcondra.

The Blackrock Road is backed up to Deansgrange Cemetery and commuters have tweeted that the N11 is "shocking" this morning from Newtownmountkennedy to the M50 with delays of 35 minutes reported.

A commuter tweeted delays along the Rock Road to Blackrock.

Traffic is heavy along the Malahide Road Junction in Fairview to the Five Lamps on Amiens Street with delays of 25 minutes.

The AA Roadwatch report that traffic is slow eastbound on the M4 Sligo/Dublin Rd from before J7 Maynooth to J5 Leixlip, and from J4 Newcastle through to the M50.

In Cork, long delays are expected throughout the city centre this morning. Carroll's Quay is slow over Christy Ring Bridge and onto Lavitt's Quay. Delays are also reported in Summerhill North inbound from Middle Glanmire Road to the quays.

Connolly Train Station.
Connolly Train Station.

The AA Roadwatch report that it's busy along the N25 Waterford Road with delays from J2 Little Island through to Tivoli.

It's also "very heavy" southbound on the M8 Dublin Road and particularly busy southbound on the N28 Ringaskiddy Rd from Maryborough Hill to Carr’s Hill.

In Limerick, traffic is heavy inbound on the Corbally Road from Westbury to the Mill Road Junction.

In Gaway, the Dublin Road is slow and it's slow on the Tuam Road heading southbound.

Wage Hikes

Irish Rail workers want a 3.75pc a year pay rise over three years, to match wage hikes recently given to Luas and Dublin Bus workers.

Talks had been ongoing between unions and company management at the Workplace Relations Commission earlier this month, but they failed to reach an agreement.

Three more days of action are planned in the dispute, an action that a SIPTU spokesperson said was 'regrettable'.

SIPTU TEAC Organiser, Greg Ennis, said: “Regrettably there has been no initiative taken by either the management of Irish Rail or the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, in seeking to find a solution to this dispute.

“Our members do not wish to be returning to the picket lines tonight but they have been left with no alternative. They remain resolute and strong in their belief that it is only by conducting industrial action that their concerns about the future of the company and the failure of staff to receive a pay rise in 10 years will be adequately highlighted.”

He added: “It is time for the Minister for Transport to accept his responsibilities and commence a process involving all the stakeholders to ensure that the crisis in Irish Rail is speedily resolved. If he continues to sit on his hands and do nothing the current dispute will worsen, with three more days of industrial action already scheduled with a further escalation in the lead up to Christmas an unfortunate but very real possibility.”

Also speaking yesterday, Iarnród Eireann said that they remain committed to the WRC process.

"Iarnród Éireann remains committed to this process," they said in a statement "and to resolving this claim through dialogue, and through the industrial relations machinery of the state.  Customers should not be disrupted in any way while this process – set out by the Labour Court – has not yet been concluded, and we urge trade unions to join us in referring the outstanding issues to the Labour Court.

"Iarnród Éireann has offered a 1.75pc increase for one year to employees, to be facilitated by measures including performance management, absenteeism management, revisions to redeployment policy and payroll.  It committed to discussing more substantive productivity issues to fund further improvements in earnings beyond the one year agreement in a defined period."

Speaking yesterday, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said: “I sincerely call on all parties to the Iarnród Éireann pay dispute to continue to use the services of the Labour Court and the WRC. It is vital for the travelling public – and also for the staff and for the company itself – that public transport is sustained, and that the dispute is resolved in a realistic, fair and workable manner”.

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