Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Timmy Dooley TD, has called on Minister Alan Kelly to clarify what the overhaul of the Rural Transport Programme will mean for companies providing the service.
Deputy Dooley said today’s announcement of changes to the Rural Transport Programme leaves many unanswered questions for the 35 companies throughout the country providing the service.
“The plans announced by Minister Kelly today were very vague and provided no detail as to what exactly is planned in the changes to the Rural Transport Programme.
“It seems to me that cutting the amount of companies from 35 to 18 will result in a reduction in the current service provided. The Minister says that the new ‘Transport Co-Ordination Units’ will be run along local authority boundaries. How can 18 companies be expected to administer the service nationwide along these boundaries? What measures will be put in place to deal with cross county services?
“The Minister failed to give any detail of the reduction in the €16.3 million funding that he also announced. It is concerning that there is a lack of any detail in these plans. The 35 companies that currently provide rural transport services will be looking on with more than a little concern and the absence of detail is causing undue worry; clarity is needed immediately.
“I hope this is not a cynical attempt by the Government to sneak cuts into the service. If, in fact, funding is to be cut and the service reduced, the Government needs to be upfront on this.”