Updated: 25/03/17 : 06:27:20
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State transport comes to standstill in Sligo

THE PUBLIC bus service and rail transport both came to a standstill in Sligo yesterday, Friday.

This followed the placing of pickets shortly after midnight by two unions, SIPTU and National Bus & Rail Workers Union.

Face Shutdown

Both had already served official strike notice if Bus Éireann proceeded with unilateral cuts in take-home pay and overtime rates.

Union leaders had warned last month that train services -- though not involved in the strike -- could be hit if staff refused to pass their own unions' pickets.

Sligo had been mentioned on RTÉ at that time as a location where both Bus and rail services could face shutdown in an official stoppage.

Yesterday, the only trains on the Dublin to Sligo line were commuter carriages which only travelled as far as Longford from the capital.

Several intending passengers turned up at Colooney, Ballymote, Boyle, Carrick-on-Shannon, Dromod to be disappointed at no rail service.

         The notice greeting Irish Rail intending passengers at Ballymote. Photo: SligoToday.ie

Bus services halted include services to Ireland West Airport at Knock, Dublin Airport, links to regional cities and towns en route.

Bus Éireann services to students in Third Level colleges across the State were also badly hit. Longford rail station saw an influx of parents making the three-hour return drive from Sligo to pick up family members and friends travelling from Dublin.

Sligo town services and public buses serving Strandhill, Rosses Point, Ballymote did not operate either.

No talks are expected over the weekend and the dispute will enter its second day today, with picketing likely to be resumed.

It is not yet clear how many extra buses have been offered in this region by private operators.