Bus Éireann underfunding is shortsighted and leaves communities isolated - Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin's candidate for the Carlow & Kilkenny by election Councillor Kathleen Funchion has called on the Minister for Transport to review the lost of bus service to 15 towns and villages across the country due to cuts to Bus Éireann funding.
Cllr Funchion said;
"These cuts by Bus Éireann are a direct result of years of underfunding of public transport services. The government has also sought to undermine Bus Eireann by privatising 10% of its routes across the state. They are making it harder and harder for the company to provide vital links which are economically and socially beneficial.
“Communities across the entire South East region will be badly affected by continuing this approach to our public transport services.
“The 3 routes which service 15 towns and villages, that will now no longer have a service, are important links for the public for commuting as well as for leisure. The government has been clear that they do not believe in adequate funding for these services.
“Bus Éireann has up until now serviced these towns and villages with no state subsidy but they fear without extra funding for these routes it will put other services at risk.
“Bus Éireann is an essential part of our public transport network and provide good quality service to a huge number of towns and villages that would otherwise be isolated and only reached with private cars.
“The private model will not work to serve the interests of these communities or Ireland as a whole. The economic and social benefit of linking these towns to major public transport routes is clear and any move to cut them must be reviewed by the Minister.
“He must decide either to fund Bus Eireann adequately or to leave these communities without a service they need.
“The government has consistently made living in rural Ireland more difficult with cuts to rural transport programmes, higher costs for private car users and cuts to Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann.
“This will just be the beginning of the cuts we will see if the government are unwilling to support transport links for rural areas.”