Action needed on rural transport
Sinn Féin Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for action from the government to provide better public transport in rural areas following a report which highlights the extent of disadvantage suffered by rural communities because of lack of access to transport.
Deputy Ó Caoláin was speaking at the opening on a new Bus Éireann station in Cavan town and the launch of a new higher frequency Cavan/Dublin bus service. He said:
``I welcome the new facilities and improved service from Bus Éireann. The launch comes on the day a report from Area Development Management Ltd. has highlighted the chronic lack of public transport for people living in rural areas. Outside cities and large towns people are effectively stranded unless they have accessto cars. The report has identified the `lack of a co-ordinated, focused
approach' to the problem of rural transport. This must be rectified immediately by the Minister for Public Enterprise Mary O'Rourke.
``She needs to greatly extend Bus Éireann's operations in rural Ireland. There is also a need for substantial government assistance for local communities who through voluntary effort are attempting to fill the huge gap in rural transport.
``The rural transport deficit is especially difficult for older people and
those with disabilities. Since becoming a member of the North Eastern Health
Board in June 1999 I have pressed for a transport service for those members of the
public having to attend specialist appointments at Navan and Drogheda hospitals
and to whom public and private transport is not currently available. Following my
representations a study is being carried out and is due to report in September.''
``The long-neglected problem of transport in rural Ireland is at last being
recognised. Decisive government action must now follow.''