While Luas Cross City work continues apace in Dublin, there was a noticeable absence of Luas trams at times. The just settled industrial dispute between tram drivers and their employer grew proper bitter at times, yet as Donal Fallon finds it’s certainly not the first major strike involving Dublin’s tram drivers.
While much has changed in recent decades, some things haven’t – there was nothing new about some of the discourse around the recent Luas dispute, depicting workers as overfed and underworked.
If anything would surprise Dubliners of old about the current dispute, it is perhaps the fact there are tramlines at all. When the last Dublin United Tramways Company route closed in July 1949 (the No.8 to Dalkey, for any pub quiz aficionados) many believed they were waving goodbye to a form of public transport for ever.
In the Sunday Independent, one writer made it clear that “I am sorry for the demise of the trams, but as a motorist I just cannot weep for them. They had become an incorrigible block to modern traffic, holding always, as they did, the middle of the road…Yet, the trams are dead, and it is time for them to lie down.” By the 1940s, the tram seemed a relic of the past.