Fianna Fáil has described plans to slash up to 100 rural bus routes as ‘an alarming step backwards for rural Ireland’.

The party’s Transport Spokesperson Timmy Dooley has said the loss of vital transport links to Dublin will leave many rural communities even more isolated.

“This is the latest in a long list of cuts to vital local services for many rural communities across the country.  Any attempt to leave communities without any public transport links to the capital must be resisted,” said Deputy Dooley.

“Successive governments have spent decades investing in easing the rural/urban divide.  Bus Éireann has played an important role in this by providing rural communities with regular access to our towns and cities.  Axing these routes will be a major step backwards at a time when many people living in rural communities now have to travel for access to vital services, having lost so many of their own local services due to this government’s cuts.

“This has to be about more than just budgets. Bus Éireann is funded by the taxpayer and it has a public responsibility to serve all communities across 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.”