Efforts are continuing this evening at the Labour Relations Commission to resolve the pay dispute at Iarnród Éireann.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny called on both sides involved in the dispute to get down to real talks with the assistance of the LRC.

He said the tried and tested mechanisms of the State are at the disposal of both sides in the dispute at the rail company. 

Mr Kenny said nobody benefits from the current situation; the consumer, the traveller, the workers or the company.

He said our reputation as a country was not helped by the situation either.

Speaking ahead of the talks, Director of Conciliation at the LRC Kevin Foley said resolving the dispute would be "complex, difficult and challenging".

Mr Foley said both sides have a deep understanding of the difficulties facing them.

He said it was difficult to say if there would be a resolution but he expected a long day of talks ahead.

The company said some progress was made at yesterday's meetings, but trade unions said strike action remains scheduled for this weekend.

Management and SIPTU and the National Bus and Railworkers Union - the two unions involved in the dispute - held ten hours of talks yesterday at the LRC.

Unions said pay, Government funding and trust were discussed during exploratory briefings with LRC staff.

No face-to-face meetings took place with Iarnród Éireann management.

It is understood a document was being drafted in relation to one issue when it was agreed to adjourn for the night.

Management said progress had been made, however unions were more circumspect, warning that for now, strikes planned for 7, 8 and 21 September, will go ahead.

Iarnród Éireann has argued that temporary pay cuts ranging from 1.7% to 6.1% are essential to secure the viability of the company - a view endorsed by the Labour Court in a previous ruling.

But NBRU and SIPTU have both voted to reject various proposals for cuts in four separate ballots.

Commuters were hit by two days of strike action on 24 and 25 August.