The Workers’ Party has condemned the failure of the Government and management in Irish Rail to work to ensure an end to the worsening rail dispute and highlighted the damaging role the public transport company’s CEO David Franks has played in the crisis.

Dublin city councillor Éilis Ryan said:

“One of our country’s crucial transport systems has been out of action again today due to the failure of the Government and management of Irish Rail to get real about the need for investment in its infrastructure and workforce.

“Last night, the Irish Rail CEO sent a letter to workers threatening a long drawn out dispute that will just damage the company and its workforce. However, what Franks did not own up to was his direct role in causing this crisis by undermining a resolution which many involved in the negotiations to avert a strike state was on the table on 19th October, before a intervention by him.”

Ryan called into question Franks’ suitability to lead the state company, saying:

“Franks is from a Thatcherite business background and was centrally involved in the failed privatisation agenda which has caused massive damage to the railways in the UK. He was twice involved in failed attempts to take over rail companies in England before arriving in Ireland.

“Questions over his decision making also emerged from evidence he presented to the inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster. This inquiry into the 5th October 1999 rail accident in London which left 31 people dead and more than 400 injured is available to view online. Franks, who was Production Director of Thames Trains from May 1996 for two and a half years and responsible for operational safety, was among its witnesses.

“While the inquiry found he did attempt to put in place training programmes which attempted to overcome problems that had emerged and were found to have contributed to the disaster the enquiry also stated ‘more could and should have been done to organise driver training and management in a systematic manner’.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded:

“It is time for Franks to show leadership and prove he is capable of leading a major public utility. He must stand up for his workers and the public rail system or if he is incapable of doing that step aside for someone that can.”