"New Scheme to improve rural transport is welcome but insufficient,” - Mattie McGrath

Eoin Kelleher

Reporter:

Eoin Kelleher

Email:

eoin.kelleher@gmail.com

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has given a qualified welcome to proposals to extend rural bus routes in 15 counties, including County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was confirmed that a €1m pilot scheme to increase night services on 44 routes has been sent to the National Transport Authority (NTA) by the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross:

“I think all of us can welcome any proposal that seek to address the appalling transport deficits that exist in rural Ireland.

However, it must be said that even if this Scheme were to be adopted on a permanent basis, it would only represent a fraction of the kind of community based transport renewal schemes that are urgently needed.

I also have concerns that funding allocated to this pilot scheme, €1 million, is grossly insufficient and demonstrates a worrying lack of appreciation regarding the scale of the transport challenges facing rural Ireland.

I would estimate that Tipperary alone would need the entire funding amount, at least, just to bring our own transport network up to par with other networks.

While I am aware that this scheme is specifically targeting increased night time routes for bus services, it is my hope that the Minister and the NTA will finally recognise that we urgently need to draw up and implement an ambitious national rural transport strategy that meets the level of need that currently exists,” concluded Deputy McGrath.