Varadkar now 'confident' rail strike can be averted

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has said he is confident that an agreement will be reached to avoid a strike at Irish Rail.

"I am confident that agreement can and will be reached. Every effort must be made to avoid industrial action," he said.

"It is essential for the future of Irish Rail’s jobs as well as the company that unions reach agreement with management regarding payroll savings, within the next couple of months."

His comments come after the Irish Independent quoted him as saying he felt strikes at the company were "inevitable".

The dispute is over a €4.7m pay cuts plan at the company. Any action would cause massive disruption for more than 100,000 commuters.

Barry Kenny of Irish Rail said the dispute was an "urgent matter" for the Labour Court.

"We're right up against it now," he said. "The minister has said these issues will come to a head in the next month or two months, and that's the type of timeframe that we're working in."

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