Commuters facing significant traffic delays during strike action
Commuters were bracing themselves for travel chaos today after talks to avert a three-hour work stoppage by train drivers collapsed late last night.
The stoppage, which will affect all Irish Rail Dart, commuter and inter-city services, began at 6 o'clock this morning and continued until 9am - the peak times for commuters.
Significant delays are expected around the country as commuters take to the roads to travel to their place of employment.
Irish Rail commuter, DART & Intercity Services won't operate until 9am due to strike. Extra volumes expected on the roads. Expect delays.— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) October 23, 2015
Kathleen Fortune (25) from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford: "It will really affect people going to work. I'm getting the train on a once-off (now) so I don't care about the rail strike."
Conor Grant (20) from Portmarnock, Dublin said: "I don't really know much about the strike but I can't get to college tomorrow at NCI, so that's a bit of a pain. I have to use Dublin Bus.
Ciara Ryan (19) from Offaly said: I'm in college in Dublin and getting the train home to Offaly for the weekend. It's tough for people but if the workers feel they have to do it, then it's fair."
Customers can see full service arrangements here.
- Services which depart prior to 06.00hrs will operate as normal. This does not include the 05.20am Westport to Heuston, which will operate to Athlone only.
- All services scheduled to depart between 6am and 9am are cancelled.
- There will be some consequent disruption after 9am, and full details are on the link above.
Online customers who are booked to travel during the hours of disruption on Friday can use their tickets on any of the following services and no surcharge will apply:
- Friday 23rd October, at a later time
- Saturday 24th October, at any time
Other information includes:
- Customers can also submit their ticket and receive a full refund.
- Customers who purchase their tickets at the station who were impacted by the industrial action should collect a refund form at the station or download a refund form and apply to Customer Care, Iarnród Éireann, Connolly Station, Dublin 1.
- Taxsaver Customers can apply for a refund if their travel plans were impacted by the Industrial Action. We would advise customers impacted on the 23rd October to apply from Tuesday 27th October onwards, through this Taxsaver form.
Further industrial action is planned for Friday, November 6.
Irish Rail apologised to the "tens of thousands" of customers who faced disruption and warned the stoppage could have a knock-on effect on services later today, with delays to trains and cancellations continuing through the morning and into the afternoon. Visit www.irishrail.ie for updates.
Dublin Bus said passengers intending to use its services should allow extra travel time, while Bus Éireann warned it would not have access to additional drivers or vehicles over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The crunch talks aimed at ending the increasingly bitter dispute between management at the company and the unions representing striking workers - the National Bus and Rail Union and Siptu - resumed around midday yesterday and broke down at around 11.30pm.
Dermot O'Leary, NBRU general secretary, lay the blame at the feet of the company.
"It is unfortunate that it took until the eleventh hour for the real company agenda to emerge. They continuously and quite deliberately chose to ignore our members' agenda in relation to past contributions," he said.
"This, coupled with their excessive expectations in relation to future productivity, far exceeded their public position of attending at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to do a deal to prevent disruption to services - all designed, we feel, to provoke our members to the point where they now feel that they have no option but to engage in industrial action [today]."
Irish Rail said unions had been seeking a shorter working week, which would have cost the company an additional €2.75m a year and reduced productivity.
"Productivity proposals were put to trade unions which would have delivered an increase in earnings for drivers of up to 7.9pc between February 2016 and January 2018," it added.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe had warned the action could have a severe impact on the heavily indebted company. It is believed to be losing €1m a month and has accumulated losses of €135m.
"I'm more concerned we could be entering a period of ongoing industrial relations and financial difficulty within Irish Rail," he said.
Tánaiste Joan Burton yesterday said the "biggest losers" from the action would be commuters and Bank Holiday travellers.
Sam Griffin and Philip Ryan