Mr Shane Ross
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Leesons Lane
Dublin 12

25th January 2017

Re: Bus Éireann Crisis /Shareholder Responsibility.
Dear Minister,

The Department’s role in the sequence of events leading up to the crisis at Bus Éireann is manifestly spelt out in the Grant Thornton Report.

The Report commences with a background to current existence plan, it informs us that it was your Department (Shareholder) that in 2015 requested Management to prepare a plan which avoided large scale industrial relations unrest.

Having subsequently received that Report the Department, advised by NewEra who undertook a financial review of the Report, did not support the proposed plan.

The Department then decided to ask the same Management to go off and prepare a separate (existence) plan under the three scenarios set out in the Grant Thornton Report.

The only conclusion that one can draw here is that cost was the deciding factor.

Such a cost would require the support of the Shareholder and would be the price to pay for the pursuance of a policy which has the liberalisation of Commercial Bus transport at its core.

This change in Department policy, has had the effect of turning Bus Éireann from a situation where it could cross- subsidise PSO Services from its Commercial Expressway revenue, €45m throughout the period 2002 to 2012, to a Company which is now suffering annual losses to the tune of €6m.

Minister, during your appearance on RTE’s Primetime programme on Thursday last you placed an emphasis on the industrial relations issues which you contend are at the heart of this dispute.

You then went on to say that you were committed to sitting down and speaking with all the stakeholders, inclusive of the Trade Unions after the ‘industrial relations dispute’ was over to discuss the vision for transport.

Here’s the oddity, there is no industrial relations dispute at Bus Éireann, why would one wait for a contrived dispute to occur before sitting down to discuss the future of a vital public service such as transport?

The ordinary person on the street is entitled to know why the debate that you have said you are prepared to have should wait until decent workers were forced to grind the transport system to a halt, condemning hundreds of thousands of tax-paying commuters to travel chaos.

For the record, and for the avoidance of any ambiguity, the NBRU is prepared to take you up on your invitation and sit down immediately to have a debate on the Vision for Public Transport with all the Stakeholders.

Whilst accepting that the Expressway crisis would require to be part of such a debate, we would not be setting out any preconditions in advance, we would of course expect that all other Stakeholders would come to the table with a similar commitment.

Minister, the exigency of the crisis at Bus Éireann would demand that this debate requires to be arranged as a matter of urgency.
Yours Sincerely

General Secretary

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