Meeting with Minister Dempsey

18th February, 2009

The Oireachtas Transport Committee met with Minister Dempsey this morning to discuss the approaching strikes in Dublin Bus. Used this to follow up on issues raised at public meeting last night organised by Councillor Mary O’Shea and myself. I questioned the Minister on why the reforms that the Minister is now looking to introduce were not done earlier. I also asked if he was planning to trigger the provider of last resort facility as introduced by the legislation for the Dublin Transport Authority.

Had to wait a long time for an answer. Row broke out about who voted for QBCs and who didn’t when they were on the Council. Followed by a row about voting records on cycle lanes. In fairness though, lots of good points raised by colleagues. Fergus O’Dowd manages to be constructive and political at the same time.

The Minister confirmed that the DTA will have the ability to directly provide buses. This appears to be under consideration at the moment. He said that it was more difficult to introduce reforms when times were good.
He is wrong on this. Money is needed to bring in reforms and I would have thought we should bring in the reforms when the money is there to fund them.

There does appear to be some ‘positive’ discussions taking place between the Government, the Unions and Dublin Bus. Hopefully this will lead to fewer job losses and a better bus service. I am following up on specific
local issues with Dublin Bus.