Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Eamon Ó Cuív has said the proposals from the Minister for Transport and the National Transport Authority (NTA) for rural Ireland in terms of hackney and taxi services does not go far enough.

Deputy Ó Cuív said, “Proposals being put forward by the NTA in relation to local hackney services and taxi services are not acceptable.

“What is needed is an affordable hackney/taxi licence service throughout rural Ireland, similar to that available in urban Ireland, on contract to the Local Link companies, who would ensure that a subsidy be paid in areas where it would not be economic for providers to work and where by putting them on contract, the service could be guaranteed.

“What is proposed by the NTA is disappointing. All they are proposing is to simplify the administration involved in the local area hackney application process and to pilot a small number of hackney services that will receive grant aid. They are talking about no more than two services per county and they also propose to pilot a small number of community transport services, operating on a voluntary basis.

“In relation to a county such as Galway or Mayo, the idea of providing two hackney services in areas where there are no guaranteed services at present, is absolutely ludicrous and will make no impression whatsoever on the huge challenge faced by rural society and transport.

“The attitude of the Government and of the agencies operating under the remit of the Government towards rural areas is that money should not be spent there. 

“I accept that a significant amount of money will have to be spent to provide proper, efficient and affordable transport services in rural Ireland, but as I have pointed out time and again, this will only be a question of addressing the deficit of services and financial commitment per head of population, to rural Ireland, rather than treating rural Ireland in an exceptional way,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.