Talks are to begin today in part of an effort to save jobs at Donegal’s oldest bus company.
Services run by the Lough Swilly bus company ceased at the weekend, ending more than 160 years of transport history in Donegal.
The company employs more than 60 people on both sides of the border.
The trade union Unite, which represents most of the workers, confirmed over the weekend that talks would commence on Monday in an effort to save jobs. “Workers have agreed to explore proposals,” Phil Oakes of Unite said. “Discussions have been going on in the background to try to save the jobs.”
The last journey by a Lough Swilly service was on Saturday night when a bus departed Derry for Letterkenny at 6pm, arriving at 6.40pm.
The last service to depart Letterkenny was the 4.45pm service to Derry. The last journey was undertaken by driver Liam Dorrian who has worked for the company for 31 years.
The company was established in 1853 by an act of parliament as the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company.
Around 2,000 schoolchildren hold tickets on over 50 school bus routes and scheduled bus services across the county that are that provided by Lough Swilly.
Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh said he had received a commitment from education minister Ruairi Quinn that other arrangements will be in place when schools return after Easter. “Other private contractors have been and are being contacted,” he said.
The National Transport Authority has announced temporary contracts for Lough Swilly routes between Derry and Buncrana and Derry and Letterkenny.
Donegal North East TD Pádraig MacLochlainn has called on the National Transport Authority to send a representative to Donegal next week to brief local Oireachtas members and councillors “as to what is proposed moving forward”.
The winding up of the company was sought by UK tax authorities although it is understood the company is tax compliant in the Republic.