The Congress of Trade Unions has called on striking train drivers, members of the Irish Locomotive Drivers' Association, to return to work immediately. In a strongly worded statement, ICTU's General Secretary, Peter Cassels, told the ILDA to accept the democratic decision of the majority of train drivers. The Minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O’Rourke, has also urged ILDA members to return to work and sort out their grievances from within Iarnród Éireann. She said it was unacceptable that one third of train drivers were holding the people of Ireland to ransom.

Iarnród Éireann has warned intending passengers that there will be reduced services over the bank holiday weekend. The company says there have been no additional train cancellations as a result of picketing by ILDA members at Dublin's two biggest main-line stations, Connolly and Heuston, as well as at a DART depot in Fairview. Drogheda and Kildare suburban commuters are experiencing a curtailed service, while several trains remained cancelled on routes to and from Westport, Kerry and Cork.

Iarnród Éireann says that the pickets placed by ILDA members at three Dublin train stations today have resulted in no additional cancellations. Pickets are in place at Heuston and Connolly station and Fairview DART station.

There was severe disruption this morning after ILDA members placed a picket at a level crossing near Limerick; the action was condemned by Iarnród Éireann as "illegal and irresponsible". The drivers blockaded the Killonan crossing for more than an hour and a half. The blockade delayed two Inter-City trains bound for Dublin. Local Gardaí met with Iarnród Éireann representatives at the crossing and managed to lift the blockade on the 6.45am Limerick to Dublin train. There were about 50 passengers on the train, which was also expected to pick up commuters on its way to Dublin.

Iarnród Éireann says that one DART driver did not pass the pickets at Fairview. However, ILDA's executive secretary Brendan Ogle this afternoon claimed that four DART drivers did not report for duty. He also said that a significant number of rail workers have not passed their pickets at Heuston and Connolly stations. Brendan Ogle also disputed Iarnród Éireann's charge that ILDA's action is illegal and irresponsible.

Travel to and from the West was also seriously disrupted this morning. The problems arose when the regular Dublin-Galway inter-city train had to be replaced by a smaller railcar. Only 100 of the expected 300 passengers were able to travel on the return journey. Iarnród Éireann had to transfer many waiting passengers to a fleet of buses and mini buses. Angry weekend travellers said that they were appalled by the prospect of having to travel by bus after having bought first class rail tickets. Iarnród Éireann Manager, Myles McHugh, described it as the most serious escalation of the dispute in relation to services to Galway so far.

The Minister for Public Enterprise is to meet representatives of the tourism industry in Kerry today to discuss the impact of the continuing rail dispute on the county. The newly formed Killarney Rail Action Group claims that an estimated £25m in revenue is being lost to the county as a result of the seven-week-old dispute. It is calling on the striking train drivers to return to work and to fight their case from within.