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Doherty hits out at cuts in rural transport initiatives

18 June, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport Senator Pearse Doherty has hit out at the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamonn O’Cuiv over his plans to cut all funding for night-time rural transport initiatives in rural Ireland.

The cuts will affect evening and night-time services in east and west Cork, Sligo, Roscommon, Donegal, Laois and Cavan. The services will expire on July 10 and will not be renewed by the department.

Senator Doherty is the author of a major report into the regeneration of the West of Ireland which was adopted by the Oireachtas All Party Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs earlier this year.

He said, “As per usual and as has been seen with the Bus Éireann fiasco earlier this year – when it comes to cuts to public transport it is rural and regional routes that are first in the firing line. It is clear that the Minister is completely blind to the needs of the rural community and indeed the west of Ireland.

“The loss of this vital service will be detrimental to local communities who depend on it and will be detrimental for jobs and also those most at risk of social exclusion in rural areas.

“The Minister must overcome his short-sightedness and retain these most important services. Rural Ireland is in crisis and has suffered many years of neglect at the hands of this government. It is time to stand up for rural Ireland. Rural transport initiatives must be maintained. These cuts must be reversed.” ENDS

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