Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Development, Claire Kerrane TD, has called for further investment in public transport services for rural areas, following a report from the Western Development Commission (WDC) this week.
The WDC’s report, The Sustainable Mobility Index for Rural Towns in Ireland’s Western Region, provided an overview of mobility in rural towns in the Western Region, including around public transport services and facilities.
The report showed some rural towns and villages scoring highly with regard to transport services and facilities, while others fell behind in the services they had access to.
Teachta Kerrane said:
“The WDC’s report presents a really useful snapshot of mobility in towns in the Western region.
“It shows that, even with rural areas, there are significant variations from town to town in relation to the access communities have to public transport services.
“In my own constituency of Roscommon-Galway, towns such as Ballinasloe and Roscommon town score highly overall while Ballaghaderreen scored second-to-last in terms of access to transport services and facilities.
“The report focused on public transport provision in important areas such as travel time to a hospital, to secondary school and third level education, and during key commuting hours. These key indicators give a really useful insight to the differences in public transport services available to towns even within the same constituency.
“Public transport services have improved for some rural communities, which is welcome, but we still have some way to go.
“In their report recommendations, the WDC proposes that there is a need for further enhancement of public transport services in many towns to provide more connections to larger centres and key services at convenient times.
“It is crucial that the government build on progress around public transport provision for rural towns and villages, to ensure all communities can access services that they need to carry out their daily lives.
“This will be key to restoring the West & North-West to Developed Region status, one of the reasons it has been downgraded to a Lagging Region is due to chronic under-funding, including in transport.”