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Trains back on track as rail chiefs claim staff 'don't want disruption'

the threat of an all-out rail strike has "no credibility" as Iarnrod Eireann staff don't want any more disruption to services, the company has said.

Dart, commuter and inter-city trains were running again today following a two-day stoppage that affected 160,000 passengers and cost the semi-state about €1.3m.

Three more walkouts are planned for September 7, 8 and 21. SIPTU and National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) workers are protesting over the imposition of pay cuts.

But Iarnrod Eireann does not believe a prolonged strike is on the cards.

"I don't think there is any credibility to that claim," company's spokesman Barry Kenny told the Herald.

"I think the NBRU leadership, if they actually talked to staff, would see that they don't want any more disruption."

Mr Kenny was speaking following comments by NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary, who said the trade union has a mandate for an all-out strike.

Following 20 months of negotiations, the company implemented pay cuts, based on Labour Court recommendations, of between 1.7pc and 6.1pc.

Mr O'Leary insisted the possibility of an all-out stoppage should not be ignored given that the union has a mandate of over 80pc in favour of such action.

"It is not for me to decide what our next course of action will be but just to remind people that this trade union has a mandate of 80pc for an all-out strike so people should not ignore that either," he said.

He called on Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe to use his office to address funding issues at Iarnrod Eireann.

Commuters joined lengthy queues at Dublin's Busaras yesterday evening as many people had to find alternative ways of getting home.

Packed

"It's terrible. This is always packed anyway at this time of day but you noticed it this morning coming in. It was definitely busier," said St James's Hospital theatre nurse Julie Sampey (42).

Padraig Cronin, from Cavan, (27) said: "It's busier than normal and town seems to be a lot busier traffic wise. Generally, it's a lot busier than it usually is."

Niamh Tobin (21), from Midleton in Co Cork, usually gets a train to and from Dublin.

"I actually had a return ticket but I kind of knew it was going to happen. It's almost an hour longer on the bus, that's the only thing. To be honest, I'm not that outraged. They told us in plenty of time so it's fine," Ms Tobin said.

However, not everyone was aware of the industrial action. A steady stream of people arrived at Dublin's Connolly Station only to be told no services were in operation.

"I came here to take a train yesterday too. I didn't know about the strike," said Brazilian student Julia Gouvea (27).

"It's annoying. I walked 40 minutes in the rain from Thomas Street to here. I have no idea what I'll do now," she added. She said she would now have to get a bus to Dublin 5.

Robert Ryan (30) from Castleknock only remembered the trains were not running when he arrived at Connolly.

"I forgot about it, to be honest. I get the commuter train out to Castleknock. I got a lift (into work) this morning," he told the Herald.

comurphy@herald.ie


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