Monday 22 January 2018

Fans facing traffic hell as Dublin Bus strike to go ahead on replay day

Dublin fans Caithriona and Padraic Flaherty Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Dublin fans Caithriona and Padraic Flaherty Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Catherine Clarke Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Football fans are facing a nightmare All-Ireland final replay after a bus drivers' union indicated it would be going ahead with a strike planned for the same day.

Last night, the GAA - which had fixed October 1 for the replay date months previously - said it hoped "common sense would prevail" in relation to the dispute.

Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU), said it was very early to say, but it was unlikely unions would reschedule the strike on October 1.

The game, to take place in Croke Park under floodlights starting at 5pm, will involve more than 80,000 making their way to and from the stadium.

A spokesperson for the GAA said it was not the organisation's place to comment on the Dublin Bus dispute.

There was some good news for fans, however, as a GAA spokesperson confirmed it was likely tickets for the replay would be sold for a discounted price.

Ticket prices were cut for two previous All-Ireland hurling final replays.

In 2014, a replay ticket to see Kilkenny and Tipperary went from €80 to €50, with a similar discount likely for this year's football replay.

Mr O'Leary said news of a massive sporting event on a strike day heaped pressure on Transport Minister Shane Ross to find a resolution to the dispute.

"The fact that the strike falls on the day of the replay puts extra pressure on the minister. He is, after all, the minister for sport as well," Mr O'Leary said.

He said there was nearly two weeks in which to resolve the dispute and two more strike days from the original six that were notified to management, before the next round begins.

Those have been scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday this week.

Fans at yesterday's game vented their anger at Mr Ross and demanded he rethink his refusal to solve the situation.

"I think the minister needs to take his finger out big-time. He's done nothing, he keeps saying 'I'm not going to get into it', it's wrong," said Sinead Cooke from Firhouse.


"It's not only Dublin fans, there's a lot of Mayo fans living up here and it will have a big effect on them too.

"It's going to be choc-a-block (for the replay),"

Frank Weldon (70), from Balbriggan, who travelled in on the bus for yesterday's match, said buses should be running on the day.

"Get Shane Ross, he ran to Rio quick enough for Pat Hickey. He should be doing something about it," he said.

Other fans called on the drivers to postpone the strike on the day.

"The bus drivers should defer the strike on the day to keep the public on their side," Jonathan Carroll (43), from Navan Road in Dublin, said.

Controversy reigned at the 129th All-Ireland football final, a game which saw nine minutes of extra time.

In the end there was nothing to separate Dublin and Mayo and the unusually long match finished 2-9 to 0-15.

Demand for tickets to the replay is likely to be just as intense, and the GAA said officials would sit down today to hammer out details.

"The tickets will be sold through the county boards as usual," the spokesperson said. But he added it was "very unlikely" that any tickets would go on general sale.

The All-Ireland final is worth upwards of €5m for traders in the city.

"A replay is good news for us. It will make up for some of the losses during the bus strikes," he said.

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