Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness has said that any attempt to axe public bus routes in Castlecomer and surrounding communities must be resisted.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy was among 300 people who attended a meeting in Castlecomer last Monday night (23 February) about Bus Éireann’s plans to scrap bus routes to Dublin. It’s part of a cost-cutting plan that will result in the loss of nearly 100 rural bus routes mainly in the Leinster region.
Deputy McGuinness commented, “It is completely unacceptable that any community would be left without access to the capital. This route is a lifeline for people living in Castlecomer and across north Kilkenny. Now they will be cut off from direct access to Dublin.
“Many people depend on these bus services to get to work, to hospital appointments, to see their families and to access vital services that have been lost locally. It was very clear from the level of anger and concern at the public meeting this week that any reduction or loss of these bus services will have a huge impact locally.
“The threatened cuts are just the latest in what has become a slash and burn of local services in many communities across the region. After years of investment in tackling the rural/urban divide, cutting rural communities off from access to our cities would be a major step backwards.
“I have spoken to Bus Éireann Chief Executive Martin Nolan has I have told him that this has to be about more than just budgets. Bus Éireann is funded by the taxpayer and it has a public responsibility to serve communities here in Kilkenny as well as the rest of the country. I am calling on the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe to immediately engage with Bus Éireann before any of these services are cut.”