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Rail services disrupted as Bus Eireann strike spreads

Transport across the country has been thrown into chaos after an all-out strike at Bus Eireann spread to some rail services.

Workers at the company took to pickets over a management decision to enforce radical cost-cutting to stop the business from going bust.

But with some public transport depots shared between Bus Eireann and Irish Rail, the industrial action has also disrupted the railways.

"Iarnrod Eireann has advised customers that there will be significant disruption to Intercity rail services today ... arising from picketing associated with the Bus Eireann dispute. Iarnrod Eireann is not a party to this dispute," the company said.

The Dart, Dublin commuter trains, Belfast and Westport services were among those operating a full schedule.

Irish Rail urged commuters and other passengers to check online for updates.

The company said disruption was expected on the Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Sligo intercity routes.

The dispute centres on millions of losses run up at Bus Eireann in recent years, with management warning the company is at risk of going bust.

Unions involved in the action include the National Rail and Bus Union, Siptu, Unite and the Transport and Salaried Staff Association.

School b uses have not been hit.

Siptu's Willie Noone said the strike action had to be taken after management tried to enforce 30% pay cuts.

"Management wish to prepare the company for the future privatisation of public bus services by concentrating draconian cuts on ordinary workers," he said.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said he was deeply concerned about the impact on the public.

"It is now time for both sides to show this willingness can result in an acceptable and fair agreement that safeguards the company's future and all of those who rely upon it," he said.

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