Is rural Ireland being discriminated against due to the continued Bus Éireann strikes?

The Bus Éireann strikes have been ongoing for over two weeks at this stage, with no sign of letting up. People all over the country are left without means of transport to big cities, which for many was there only form of transport. But with Dublin Bus still in operation, it is people in rural Ireland that are feeling the sting of these strikes.

It is fair to say that the people in rural Ireland who depended on Bus Éireann to do their daily shopping, visit children, grandchildren and parents or even just go somewhere for a nice day out are being left without a means for transport. It is hard find a taxi service that will come out to the sticks without costing an arm and a leg, especially when compared to a bus fare.

For some counties, they are lucky enough to have a private bus company that is running similar routes to big cities, such as Wexford Bus. However, many places like Athlone and Roscommon do not have that kind of luxury, leaving many students stranded in college with no access to lifts home.

We saw on Friday 31st of March what kind of chaos can be caused in a city when there are no means of getting to work. Thousands of people were left standing at bus stops all over the city and the surrounding area, waiting for buses that never came due to Dublin Bus drivers refusing to cross the Bus Éireann picket line. A similar occurrence with Irish Rail on the same day wreaked even more havoc.

The anger and annoyance that was felt all over Dublin that morning was palpable, with many late to work or not even able to make it at all but this had been happening all over the country for the previous two weeks with many still left with no way to get to Dublin. Something similar to what happened on that Friday morning has been happening all over the country for weeks and no same sense of anger has been felt.

However, Dublin is the most densely populated area in Ireland, with most people relying on bus services to travel within the city as parking is expensive and just an outright nightmare. That strike was a shock to everyone travelling to work that day and has since been condemned by strike leaders. Although it may seem like that kind of strike action was warranted, it was not.

We need to look at what routes Bus Éireann are actually cutting and why these redundancies are happening before we can judge; many of the routes go with just one or two passengers, which is obviously not the best way to spend the money that is given to them.

Lucy Mangan

Image Credit: Daria Jonkisz