Calleary demands retention of local bus services

download– Mayo communities under threat of losing vital transport links –

Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has said that any attempt to axe public bus routes in communities across the county must be resisted.

Deputy Calleary has expressed his outrage at Bus Éireann’s decision to drastically reduce services between Westport and Athlone, which will affect the frequency of services to a number of Mayo towns as well as to Ireland West Airport.  It was revealed this week that the bus operator plans to axe nearly 100 rural bus routes.

Deputy Calleary commented, “It is completely unacceptable that any community would be left without access to our towns and cities.  Under this plan, the service between Athlone and Westport will be drastically curtailed.  It means that towns like Ballyhaunis, Claremorris, Balla and Castlebar will see their service slashed.  The move could also result in fewer services to Ireland West Airport at Knock, which could have major implications for passenger numbers at the terminal.

“Essentially these communities are being penalised because of their location.  Many people depend on these bus services to get to work, to go to hospital appointments, to see their families and to access vital services that have been lost locally.  Any reduction or loss of these services will have a huge impact on these areas.

“These threatened cuts are just the latest in what has become a slash and burn of local services in many communities across this 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.

“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 Mayo as well as the rest of the country.  Again it seems like this region will suffer a disproportionate level cuts 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”.