Some people must have too much time, too much money, or both. And lawyers grow rich and fat on such people.
Today Swords Express, a private bus company, has begun proceedings in the High Court in Dublin against the Minister for Transport over what it says was "a decision allowing unfair competition".
According to the claim, "the Dept. of Transport allowed Dublin Bus [the capital's municipal bus operator] to change one of its routes to compete with the private Swords Express service".
So what? Competition is a good thing and the yeast of the economy. The more, the better, as long as it is fair for everyone. Why should a specific bus route be given exclusively to one private operator?
The company claims it is being "put out of business" because of the competition, which affects a route from Swords (in the north of Co. Dublin) to the city centre, using the Port Tunnel.
Swords Express seeks a judicial review in the High Court and says that it cannot compete with a state-subsidised service, as it is provided by Dublin Bus.
Well, again I have to ask - so what? If Dublin Bus can do it better and cheaper, then let them do it. We don't have enough public transport routes in Ireland as it is, so we should be grateful for everyone that does exist.
But there is another point I don't understand in the argument of Swords Express. They must be the only private bus company in the country that cannot take on a state-subsidised competitor. Around here we have plenty of bus routes, operated by the also state-subsidised Bus Eireann. But nevertheless there are several private bus companies in business, giving Bus Eireann a good run for their money.
In Waterford City a private bus service operates parallel to Bus Eireann, and the same private company also provides a route to Dublin. And guess what?
The private company runs a lot more services to and from Dublin than Bus Eireann, even during the night, when the state-company sleeps. And the private company's fare is cheaper than the state-subsidised fare of Bus Eireann!
Not knowing the local details, I am not sure what Swords Express is doing wrong. Maybe their directors should come done south for a day or two and see how it is done here.
There is a solution for every problem. But in my opinion and experience courts are very rarely it. They do their own things, and the main one is to provide the exceptionally high income of the legal profession.