Taoiseach calls last week's secondary picketing "disgraceful"

Public transport workers took part in wildcat industrial action last Friday in solidarity with Bus Éireann staff

Taoiseach calls last week's secondary picketing "disgraceful"

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. Image: Paraic Gallagher / Newstalk

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rounded on striking public transport workers, calling the wildcat action last Friday "disgraceful".

Welcoming the decision by unions and management at Bus Éireann to enter talks, he said in the Dáil: "I'm glad to see both sides are back in at the WRC".

However, he was quick to highlight how last week's surprise strike action affected the masses.

"People are entitled in this country to go about their daily work and expect that services will be provided. Strikes have been legitimate in Ireland, and there are reasons for that."

Talks between got underway at 10:30 this morning. Heading into the discussions the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said its members on the Bus Éireann picket lines are “resolute”.

SIPTU, the NBRU and Unite trade unions will sit down with company management at the Workplace Relations Commission.

However, pickets will remain in place at depots across the country, on what will be the 13th day of strike action over proposed cost-cutting plans.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary said there is no change in his members' positions:

“What it has done, the dispute, instead of lowering morale it has had the opposite effect and people are determined to see this out until such time as they see a proposal hopefully from the talks over the next number of days.”

Garda Commissioner

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has once again given his backing to the Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan, despite mounting pressure on her to stand down.

Fianna Fáil are the latest party to harden their stance towards Commissioner O'Sullivan, with the party's front bench suggesting they may put down a motion of no confidence next week. 

However, Mr Kenny told Labour's Brendan Howlin that Noirín O'Sullivan is the best person to lead reform and change in the force.