Ireland: Strike-hit firms say send in army

April 5, 2000

IRELAND: Strike-hit firms say send in army

Employers in Ireland have called for the army to be brought in to run the public transport system hit by a wave of bus and rail strikes.

A spokesperson for the Irish employers' federation said the republic faced "an emergency" and that "any reasonable person ... would understand that desperate situations need desperate measures. We cannot tolerate a situation where a small group of workers in a monopoly are capable of stopping the economy."

A lightning strike began in Cork on March 28 over a dispute about the use of contract workers. The strike quickly spread across the country.

Most inter-city and suburban trains were cancelled because of action by track inspectors. Secondary pickets brought the capital's light rail system, which normally carries 80,000 passengers a day, to an almost complete standstill.

Meanwhile, a Dublin bus strike entered its second day, affecting 200,000 commuters. The national bus service, Bus Eireann, was also severely disrupted after an sympathy stoppage in support of the Dublin drivers.

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