Shane Ross: Bus & rail pickets were an 'orchestrated ambush'

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has called on the minister to end his own strike and work towards finding a resolution to the dispute

Shane Ross: Bus & rail pickets were an 'orchestrated ambush'

Photo: Sam Boal/

Updated 15:40

The Transport Minister Shane Ross has called this morning's unofficial industrial action an 'orchestrated ambush' on the travelling public.

Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services are gradually returning to normal after virtually all trains and buses were cancelled earlier this morning.

The disruption was caused by unofficial secondary pickets by some Bus Éireann workers at a number of bus & rail depots.

Workers at Bus Éireann are now eight days into their all-out strike over proposed cost-cutting measures at the embattled company.

The NBRU and SIPTU - the unions which represent Bus Éireann workers - say they were taken by surprise by the wildcat action today, adding they do not condone the secondary pickets.

Transport Minister Shane Ross spoke to Pat Kenny about today's events.

He again refused to intervene in the dispute at Bus Éireann, saying the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court exist to deal with such disputes.

He observed: "I support above all else the right of unions to strike. I think it's a fundamental tenant of democracy that they should be able to do so.

"What I really do regret deeply is the fact that what's happened this morning has been an orchestrated ambush on the travelling public. And I can't understand how this happened."

He welcomed the comments from unions calling on workers to return to work, but called on unions to keep in contact with members to ensure such an action does not happen again.

He added: "We can't tolerate a situation like this going on or happening in the middle of an industrial relations dispute.

"I'm not on the side of management or unions on this at all - I'm on the side of the travelling public and the taxpayer."

This afternoon the Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald called on Minister Ross to “end his own strike” and try to find a resolution to the dispute.

“The longer Shane Ross remains on strike himself, the longer Shane Ross languishes on the sidelines, the deeper this dispute will become and the more distressed the workers will become and the more discommoded the travelling public will be,” she said.

“If Minister Ross won’t willingly intervene, I think it is high time for the Taoiseach to call him to account as his boss and tell him, he has to do his job.”