The possibility that two rail services that go through Tipperary may be cut from service has increased further as Irish Rail warns that potential pay rises could bankrupt the company.
Unions at the company are demanding pay increases of 3.75%, but the company has told the Labour Court that its financial position is now so risky that it may need to cut some routes to stay afloat.
It has already been indicated that the least-performing routes and those in the firing line include the Limerick to Ballybrophy line and the Limerick Junction to Waterford route.
The closure of both of these services would save the company €5 million a year.
Other lines that could also be abolished include the Gorey to Rosslare and the Ennis to Athenry routes. Combined, the closure of these lines would save Irish Rail €7.2 million.
It has now emerged that Irish Rail has included all of these services in a submission that it has made to the Labour Court, increasing the possibility of these lines closing.
Tipperary TD Alan Kelly has said in response that the people of Tipperary need to fight the closure of these lines.
He has demanded that instead of getting rid of the two services, which he says is contrary to the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, proper investment in them is needed.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mattie McGrath has said that while it is accepted that there are challenges in justifying the continued operation of the Ballybrophy line (which is costed at €800 per passenger), the demand for the Limerick Junction – Waterford route is justified and needs to be properly utilised by Irish Rail.