Rural Transport Services are a vital life line – BREEN.

September 11th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said today that Rural Transport Services are a vital life line for our Rural Communities and that their future remains uncertain with funding only left in place until December next.
“The Clare Accessible Transport System provides a life line to people living in rural areas throughout this County. Public Transport is not an option and the fact is that this service is working at a relatively low cost.”
“This Service is operated with grant assistance from the Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs; however, it is very unclear as to what is going to happen the service from the end of the year.”
“Many people living in rural areas are reliant on the service. The low floor vehicle is much more accessible especially for the elderly and for people with disabilities and the reality is that public transport is not an option in most areas.”
“I have spoken to several people in recent days who told me how important this Service is to them. They use the service to attend medical appointments, to collect their pensions and do their shopping; indeed one man said to me recently that if this service is withdrawn that he will be left housebound and trapped in his own village. Another woman told me that she will not be able to collect her Pension as her local post office is closed. It appears that every time cutbacks are being made that rural communities are to first to be hit. The erosion of many basic services, including bus services, the closure of post offices and the threat hanging over the future of Rural Garda Stations is now forcing many people in our rural communities, especially the elderly and most vulnerable to live in total isolation.”
“The Service operates in all corners of the County. It allows for travel within parishes but it also facilitates people travelling from Feakle for instance to connect on to the Lahinch – Ennis Service, allowing people to enjoy a day out. Services operate in East, West and North Clare and the reality is that they are the only life line for many people.”
“Minister O’Cuiv must recognise their importance and the vital role they play. I am now calling on the Minister to end this uncertainty and clarify whether this Service will be funded after December. Otherwise, many who depend on it; will be left housebound with no quality of life.”