Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications and Transport, Martin Kenny TD, has called on Minister for Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, to commit to a plan of action as rural communities face into the winter months and more inclement weather forecasts.
This calls come as a result of a number of Local Link operators being unable to run their services due to icy road conditions in the winter months.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:
“We have a situation in many rural areas where the secondary roads are not gritted or cleared adequately during icy conditions. This is impacting on the operation of Local Link bus services which are a vital connector for many towns and villages across rural Ireland.
“As the number of people working from home or working in a hybrid model continues to rise, so too does their reliance on the Local Link service in their communities.
“In theory, the Department of Local Government and each Local Authority are responsible for ensuring roads being served by NTA vehicles are cleared and useable. In reality, this is not the case.
“I have been in contact both with Local Link operators and with commuters who use these services who report cancellations of routes because of secondary roads not being cleared or gritted during cold or inclement weather.
“Earlier today I wrote to both the Minister and the NTA to express my concern, and to highlight this issue.
“Government has time to plan for these events, and the public need to know what those plans entail. I am seeking a commitment from the Minister in particular to ensure teams are in place to grit and clear the secondary roads for use by these services.
“Those relying on public transport in rural Ireland must be encouraged to continue bringing their carbon footprint down. One of the most basic ways we can do that is by ensuring their services remain reliable throughout the winter.”