Updated: 30/01/17 : 04:48:46
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Sligo buses chop threat stays, despite backbench TDs

Special Report

SLIGO AREA employees of Bus Éireann were absent for an average of eleven days each in 2016.

The claim is made in a confidential report prepared for the company's management.

Galway area 'sickies' are the worst in the company, at 15 days per annum per employee this is higher than Cork, Waterford, Limerick or Dublin.

Fears persist, meanwhile, that one of the prized services from Sligo still faces the chop -- maybe within weeks.

The '64' route from Sligo serves Derry and Galway and most small towns en route and has done so for decades.

It is unclear if the high 2016 absenteeism recorded by the company in the Galway area is adding to risks for the '64' service.

Last winter, unions representing workers in Bus Éireann briefed all passengers, including Sligo town service users, of the imminent cuts across the country.

Routes from Sligo to Derry and Galway, the University at Maynooth and to Dublin Airport were all at risk, warned the National Rail and Bus Workers Union. 

Booking offices and maintenance depots also face closure in some towns, added The Irish Mail on Sunday yesterday.

Cold Water

But any proposals to chop Expressway services could spell serious trouble for a fleet of Government backbenchers.

Locally, Sligo TD Tony McLoughlin has poured cold water on the idea of scrapped services.

A Bus Éireann spokeswoman confirmed to the newspaper yesterday that all the proposals were still on the table.

These options had been drawn up over the past 24 months, she explained.

All structures, regional and otherwise, are under review, she added: ''But no decisions were finalised.''

Allowances Cut

Meanwhile Bus Éireann could face a strike next month if it proceeds with a controversial plan announced last weekend.

Drivers would lose premia for Sunday working, plus other allowances in a unilateral move by the loss-making company.