Minister for Transport Shane Ross was criticised in the Dáil today after the Taoiseach confirmed that despite briefing the Cabinet on the crisis at Bus Éireann this morning, the minister still has not read the Grant Thornton review that recommended the closure of the company's Expressway service.
AAA-PBP TD Mick Barry said he could not understand how the minister had not seen the report, when details had been published in the Irish Times six days ago.
He said Otto, the bus driver from the Simpsons, would have more of a clue.
He also raised claims that one private operator was paying drivers cash in hand, which is illegal.
He said other operators were paying little more than the minimum wage, and below Bus Éireann rates.
He called for a threshold of decency to be maintained and enforced for transport staff.
Fianna Fáil transport spokesperson Robert Troy queried how the minister had briefed the Cabinet earlier today on a report that he had not seen, describing the situation as "farcical" and a "charade".
He accused the minister of "ducking and diving" on the issue, and asked why the minster had not contacted Bus Éireann to request a copy.
Labour transport spokesperson Brendan Ryan urged Mr Ross to publicly outline how he plans to tackle the escalating crisis at Bus Éireann, but warned any action taken should not be on the backs of ordinary Bus Éireann workers.
He said a public transport company was on the verge of collapse but there had been no political leadership from the minister - despite the issue having huge implications for rural Ireland.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also insisted that losses at Bus Éireann, which are threatening the future of the company as a whole, are not due to a lack of Government funding and that connectivity in rural areas has been maintained.
He said the Bus Éireann situation was not a problem of policy, but rather a commercial problem requiring a commercial response.