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Rural transport problems much deeper than pub runs - Crowe

10 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has welcomed a proposed extension to the Rural Transport Initiative but said rural transport problems go much deeper than 'ferrying pub goers from public houses at night time'. He called for more substantial expansion of rural transport services to address the isolation of many people and small communities.

The Dublin South-West TD: "The reasons behind expanding the Rural Transport Initiative should be broader than ferrying pub goers from public houses at night time. Rural transport has suffered from a lack of investment for decades leading to the isolation of many people, especially those who are elderly or have special needs, weakening communities and deteriorating quality of life.

"While a rural nite-link service is welcome in that it will inevitably reduce drink-driving, the whole Rural Transport package should be considerably improved, ensuring that those in rural areas can access shops and amenities. This has been made all the more important with this Government's laissez-faire approach to the closing down of local post offices forcing elderly people to travel longer distances to collect their pensions for instance.

"I want to see an extension to the hours of existing rural transport schemes, while making services available during both day and night. These measures are vital in ensuring that rural people can safely participate in community life. It is regrettable that it has taken pressure from rural publicans, who fear for their livelihoods, and rural road deaths, to force the Government into action."


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