Kathleen Funchion TD slams proposed cuts to X-7 Expressway route
Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has described as "a disgrace" the news that Bus Eireann intends to cut the X-7 Expressway Route that runs from Clonmel through Callan and then services Kilkenny City with stops at Ormonde Street and McDonagh Station.
Deputy Funchion said that the decision displays a complete disregard for the rural community.
"Unfortunately this is another in the long line of cutbacks that this government and its predecessors have levelled on rural Ireland. There seems to be no shortage of reports and talk from this government on Rural Ireland but when it comes to doing things for these communities they come up empty handed. How can people from Clonmel to Kilkenny be expected to tolerate this situation? The buses are required to get to schools, work and hospital appointments.
"The drivers who provide such an excellent service know this reality but it appears that their input has been ignored.
"These drivers are left to fight not only for their own pay and employment conditions, but also for the people and communities they serve.
"The problem is that the current government and previous administrations are not prepared to accept the principle that rural communities are entitled to a proper public transport service that provides an efficient and effective service to all communities across the country.
"This has to be accepted and put into practice. This political issue has to be faced. There is also a need for regulations for proper pay and conditions in the Transport Sector so as to ensure that the setting of wages in the industry does not become a race to the bottom.
"The provision of a proper bus services is a lifeblood to rural communities. The X-7 is a tremendous asset to the area. Tourists and locals have mentioned that it is a route to the airport for them."
"The government subvention is now 20% less than it was over eight years ago. It now stands at €40.8 million and was cut by 35% between 2009 and 2016 . They has been plenty of money to bail out banks but insufficient resources to help our rural communities."
Deputy Funchion is hoping to raise this directly with the minister in the dail and has already written to Ann Graham of the NTA seeking an urgent meeting.
The public meeting organised by Deputy Funchion takes place on 9th March in the Droichead Centre in Callan at 8pm and all are welcome to attend