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TSSA Seeks Irish Government Assurances Over CIE Covid-19 Funding  

14 May 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to Ireland’s Transport Minister - Shane Ross - calling for swift assurances on the funding of national bus and rail carrier, CIE (Córas Iompair Éireann), throughout the Covid-19 crisis and beyond. 

The move comes as Ireland prepares to ease Coronavirus restrictions from Monday (18th May) and after CIE themselves wrote to Minister Ross to say it is in serious financial trouble after a big drop in passenger numbers at Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus and Iarnród Eireann in recent weeks. 

Cortes, the boss of the Transport and Travel union which represents members across CIE, is calling for Dublin to ‘step up to the plate’ to ensure CIE that ‘any lost revenue during the crisis is underwritten by the government and cost risk transferred to the government’.  

In the letter Cortes goes on the say the pandemic calls for ‘exceptional government interventions at this point in time’. 

Cortes also stresses to Ross that it is ‘not tenable for the government to allow its own public transport system to fail’ and that ‘public transport is essential for the social and economic fabric to return as Ireland reopens’. 

 

The full text of Manuel Cortes’ letter to Shane Ross is as follows

Dear Minister, 

Further to our letter dated 23 March 2020, I am writing to you seeking assurances that the Department of Transport will ensure that the CIE group of companies will be adequately funded throughout the Covid-19 crisis and beyond. 

We are aware that CIE have written to you outlining the extreme financial strain they are under. At the beginning of this crisis it was clear that the CIE group of companies would suffer a severe reduction in revenue. What was also clear was that the CIE group of companies and their staff would ensure that public transport as an essential service would continue to operate, this they have done under the most trying of times. 

The government must now step up to the plate by providing CIE companies with assurances that any lost revenue during the crisis is underwritten by the government and cost risk transferred to the government. This is an unprecedented crisis for the country which necessitates exceptional government interventions at this point in time. 

As we shortly begin on Monday 18 May the phased return to reopening Ireland, at the very core of the reopening will be the CIE group of companies. As the national carrier it is crucial that staff at the CIE group of companies know that the government will ensure they have the necessary financial support for them to continue delivering public transport during this crisis and for them to play their part in the national interest. Staff need certainty in these unprecedented times. 

It simply is not tenable for the government to allow its own public transport system to fail, public transport continues to be crucial in ensuring key workers are able to continue in their vital roles. Public transport is essential for the social and economic fabric to return as Ireland reopens. 

I trust you will act swiftly on this issue. 

Yours sincerely 

Manuel Cortes 

General Secretary 

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