Bus Éireann suggest Dundalk depot should close in discussion document to save company
The future of the Bus Éireann depot in Dundalk has again come under the spotlight as part of efforts to save the company from insolvency.
The Irish Independent reports today that Bus Éireann have proposed closing the Ardee Road facility as part of cutbacks aimed at saving €30 million.
In a discussion document sent to staff, a number of measures were outlined to ensure the loss-making company’s survival including the axing of at least 120 jobs and the possibility of the withdrawal of a number of loss-making routes including the Dublin to Derry, Athlone to Westport and Dublin to Clonmel services.
Of most concern from a local perspective is the suggestion that the Dundalk depot should close along with one other.
Currently there are nine people employed in the depot.
The ‘discussion document’ said the company is going out of business and will be insolvent before the end of the year.
The document said the current estimate is that there was a €9.4m operating loss last year, while losses for January this year are already in excess of €1.5m.
The document was circulated at talks at the Workplace Relations Commission in an attempt to reach a settlement with unions who are opposing €12m cuts to their members’ earnings.
Unions SIPTU and the NBRU have reportedly reacted angrily to the document and vowed to fight the cuts.
Last month Talk of the Town revealed that the closure of the local bus depot was included as a suggestion in one of three restructuring plans to cut costs at Bus Éireann.
Consultants Steer Davies referred specifically to Dundalk and Limerick as high priorities for remedial action, saying that these two depots alone require investment of €8m.
They recommended closing the Dundalk garage, and moving the Limerick operation to the bus station when it is rebuilt.
The threat to the local depot comes just eight months after Bus Éireann applied to Louth County Council for planning permission to refurbish it and construct a new bus fuelling facility.
This application, which Dundalk Grammar School objected to, was later withdrawn following a further information request from the local authority.