Monday 19 February 2018

Varadkar on Irish Rail: 'It's in a bad way but I've no money for it'

Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

Irish Rail is in a very bad way says Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and his department has no more money for the transport provider.

"The financial position of the company is very bad," says Mr Varadkar and aside from the €36m the government gave to Irish Rail two years ago no more funds will be made available to the cash-strapped transport network.

"The government can't do any more than it has two years ago, to the tune of €36m, on the understanding that things will change and since then it hasn't been possible to get the cost savings that are necessary so I have no more money for Irish Rail," stated the minister.

Negotiations between Irish Rail and its staff are currently underway in the Labour Court to find €4.6m of savings a year.

A document by the semi-state company says its 3,768 workers' unwillingness to accept the 1.7pc wage reduction threatens its future and that it could go bust as a result.

"I certainly hope it doesn't go bust by 2015 or 2016," said Mr Varadkar who also stated that the "situation is very serious" at the semi-state transport provider.

"I don't want to contemplate the alternative which is redundancies and line closures and I really hope we don't have to go down that route and that we can continue with our current policy of maintaining services and maintaining employment levels," continued the minister.

He did however back Bus Eireann saying that had his department more money for public transport that's where he would put it.

"If I did have more money for public transport, as I've said before, I'd put it into Bus Eireann and rural transport services that provide a much greater return for the money coming in," finished Mr Varadkar.

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