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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

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Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Taoiseach's answer that this is commercial competition flags up why this is of interest to every transport worker not just Bus Éireann workers. The NTA has deliberately forced Bus Éireann into an uneven playing field of competition with the private operator to drag down the wages and conditions of workers. This will apply to Dublin Bus, DART and Irish Rail. If the NTA and the Government manage to drag people down in Bus Éireann, they will drag them down everywhere. This strike is of interest to other transport workers and it is indeed of interest to the public in general who are suffering as a result of the strike but will suffer more if the Taoiseach and the Government gets its way and diminishes the jobs and conditions of public transport workers. Will the Taoiseach come out to the gates with me at 1 p.m. tomorrow and welcome the hundreds of bus, rail and DART workers who will be there to tell the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport that he cannot wipe his hands of this? The Minister is involved, as are the Government and the NTA. They must participate in the solution to this strike and crisis. The power is on the streets. It will be outside the gates at 1 p.m. tomorrow. If the Minister does not listen to that, a national transport strike will be required and he will have to listen to DART, Dublin Bus and Luas workers, and train drivers when they down tools and say workers will not be dragged down by a race to the bottom by the policies of this Government. The Minister must get involved.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Minister will be before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport tomorrow at the time the protest is taking place. The Government has increased the public service obligation, PSO, funding by €28 million in each of the past two years.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith It is still below 2009 levels.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Today is 28 March-----

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Well below.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----the fifth day of all out strike at Bus Éireann. The biggest impact is on Bus Éireann's PSO network because on the Expressway network, which is the root cause of this particular problem, there are other competitors who take up the slack when Bus Éireann is not there.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett They are cherry-picking because the Government allows them to.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Expressway service, which is the root cause of this problem-----

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I have a letter from the NTA encouraging others to go out and break this strike. The Government's policy is encouraging strike-breaking.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----is least affected by this.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith It is outrageous.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Expressway service is least affected because there are other buses travelling on that route. Apart from some spillover strike action on Friday which impacted on Iarnród Éireann, the other CIE companies have been unaffected.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith It will be more than a spillover. The Taoiseach has not explained why the Minister for Social Protection gives private operators a 70% subsidy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny SIPTU announced on Monday that it will ballot its members on Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann for industrial action.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Taoiseach still has not explained why the Minister for Social Protection gives them a subsidy of 70%.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny No date for balloting has been set but people are perfectly entitled to protest and protest can send powerful signals, when it is legitimate of course.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith So the Taoiseach will come out and say hello.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The solution and resolution of this strike does not lie outside the gates of Leinster House but around the WRC table. Both sides have admitted that there are issues that need to be discussed. That is the opportunity for them to discuss those, at the WRC.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has to be at that table.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Deputy knows that a Minister cannot sit at that table because everybody else would then say the Government is stepping in for all of these issues. The Deputy knows that very well.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith He is the Minister for transport.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Minister is doing his duty with the PSO by increasing it. The Minister for Social Protection is doing it in terms of the rural transport scheme. The unions and management say there are efficiency matters that need to be discussed and the place to discuss those is at the WRC table.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith There is a 30% pay cut for Michael and the workers I described.

Order of Business

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly Today's business shall be No. 5, motion re changes to Standing Orders 84, 108 and 111A; No. 13, Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 1, Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Bill 2016 [Seanad] - Second Stage. Private Members' business shall be No. 96, motion re the Money Advice & Budgeting Service and Citizens Information Service selected by Fianna Fáil.

  Wednesday's business shall be No. 13a, statements on Northern Ireland; No. 6, motion re report of the Committee of Public Accounts re National Asset Management Agency's sale of Project Eagle; No. 14, Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) Bill 2016 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 13, Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014 [Seanad] - Report and Final Stages, resumed if not previously concluded, and No. 1, Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Bill 2016 [Seanad] - Second Stage, resumed if not previously concluded.


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