Sinn Féin welcome equality intervention on minibus laws
Sinn Féin has welcomed confirmation that the Department of Infrastructure is engaging with the Equality Commission over proposed changes to legislation governing who can drive a minibus.
The party’s transport spokesperson Sean Lynch MLA commented: “We have very serious concerns about the planned changes to minibus licensing laws which were originally set to come into effect on January 1st but have been brought forward due to a legal challenge and two months before the consultation has been complete.
“The proposals are likely to have a very damaging impact on the ability of health trusts, sports clubs and other community organisations to provide minibus transport.
“Rural community transport partnerships, which currently provide over 200,000 trips a year to elderly people, disabled people and the most isolated and vulnerable communities across the north, will be particularly badly affected. Potentially, the future feasibility of these services is under threat.
“Sinn Féin met with the Department last week and made clear they have a duty under equality legislation to ensure any changes do not negatively impact on vulnerable groups such as disabled and elderly people.
“We urged them to engage with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and I welcome confirmation that this engagement has now begun.
“A public meeting will also be taking place tomorrow in the Lisburn Civic Centre at 10:30am, organised by the Rural Community Transport Partnerships aimed at saving community transport. Sinn Féin will be in attendance and committing to support the campaign."