The sun is out in Dublin today and the city is starting to look amazing like it always does at this time of year. But before you go about thinking which beer garden you'll be in after work and what to do on the long weekends there is one slight blight on the horizon... a dreaded bus strike.
And it's not just any bus strike either – this looks like the mother of them all, with Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus services in doubt over the course of May...
1. There's a total of seven days' strike action planned in May
The strikes are being planned for Friday May 1 and Saturday May 2, as well as Friday May 15 and Saturday 16. If those two don't get resolved, further action is planned for Friday-Sunday May 29-31.
2. The strikes target the May and June Bank Holiday weekends
The strikes are timed to cause massive disruption across the city on two of the busiest weekends of the year. With Bus Eireann also affected, it will be especially hard to get out of the city – and tourists popping over for a nice long weekend are going to be in for a shock. Hop On-Hop Off tourist buses have also been affected during previous strikes.
3. It all boils down to 10% of routes getting privatised
The Department of Transport is in the process of putting 10% of the companies' unprofitable routes out to private operators. The unions argue that this would cut their hours, pay and prospects in the long run – as it has in other cities around the world.
4. A summer of discontent
Enda Kenny has said: “The strike should be called off in my view", but with 90% of the bus drivers voting in favour of the strike, the two sides look a million miles apart.
It will be hard for the Government to change course so publicly, but with such aggressive strikes lined up (and no guarantee that this will be the last of it), this could turn into a long painful summer for Dubliners.
5. The strikes will cost €5m in lost revenue
And that's just within the bus companies themselves. If you take into account the toll on the broader economy, and the loss of productivity and business, the number will be much higher.
6. €180m of taxpayers' money went into Dublin Bus last year
As semi-state bodies, these companies were supported by the taxpayer to the tune of €180m, with funds to plug gaps and improve their services – but once again, it will be the people paying for the service who get hurt most.
7. Students, festival goers and tourists will be worst hit
While it might seem like a pain for those of us finding a new way to commute to work, imagine the extra stress placed on students at the height of their exams. With most of the biggest festivals of the year taking place around that weekend people are going to have to find new ways to travel – carpooling, walking, cycling or alternative methods of public transport just won't be an option in these cases.
As for the tourists? Well, there's nothing worse than arriving in a new city for the first time to discover a strike is happening.
This will hurt everybody, and it's really hard to see who's going to come out of this for the better.