Irish bus compensation
Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has concluded that arrangements to compensate state-owned Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus for the operation of bus services across Ireland and for the transport of schoolchildren were put in place before the liberalisation of the EU bus sector when EU state aid rules were not yet applicable. Whilst the compensation arrangements for the bus services that were the subject of this investigation ceased to be operational in December 2009, the arrangements for the transportation of schoolchildren are still in place and the Commission will now initiate a dialogue with Ireland to update those arrangements and bring them into line with EU state aid rules. The two state-owned Irish bus companies benefitted from aid measures that were in place before the EU bus sector was liberalised. The measures are therefore considered to be existing aid. The Commission also found that small grants made for training were compatible with the Single Market. The investigation followed a complaint by a representative body for private bus companies in Ireland, the Coach Tourism and Transport Council.