TWO Tipperary TDs have clashed publicly this week over the provision of rural transport, both claiming they are acting in the best interests of the Ring-a-Link bus service.
Deputy Mattie McGrath is a Director of Ring a Link, a non-profit organisation offering affordable transport for rural people. Minister Alan Kelly has recommended the scheme be abolished and handed over to the control of Tipperary’s two County Councils.
Deputy McGrath denounced the move as yet another example of heavy handed government taking away local services developed by country people.
“This is a new trend now under this government. They want to put the LEADER groups as well under the auspices of the County Council. In South Tipperary, we have one of the most successful projects in the Country. It’s recognised as such. We have a state-of-the-art booking system. We have a fleet of 14 buses. We have several private contractors, a manager, and a skeleton staff of two or three. We have drivers who provide a very good service, which is cost effective, and every journey we do is costed. It’s all accounted for,” said Deputy McGrath.
Minister Alan Kelly said Mattie McGrath is proposing to do nothing. “If we do nothing, many rural transport services will no longer exist. We have to create positive change so we can preserve those services into the future. Mattie McGrath was part of the Fianna Fáil government which commissioned the McCarthy report. The McCarthy report recommended the closure of all transport services. When I came into office I dismissed that out of hand. I will not support the policy of Mattie McGrath and the previous government to close rural services across the country. I’m trying to integrate and create better services for people in rural Ireland.
Full Story in this week’s Tipperary Star.