Munster calls for Drogheda-Laytown bus route to be extended to Julianstown

Imelda Munster TD for Louth and East Meath has called for the D1/D2 bus route between Drogheda and Laytown to be extended as far as Julianstown with an additonal stop at Sonairte – The National Ecology Centre at The Ninch on the R150.

Deputy Munster said:

“This minor bus route extension which would only add an additional 4km each way from the current terminus at Laytown train station would be of enormous benefit to local people.

“It would also be invaluable for visitors to Sonairte as well as the Tús and CE employees who work there, some of whom have existing medical conditions and have no option but to walk an extra 15/20 minutes from Laytown train station along the R150, a dangerous stretch of road with no footpaths or lighting.

“As it stands Sonairte, an environmental charity since 1986 open to the Public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, is inaccessible to many who don’t drive but would love to avail of its Vegetarian/Vegan Café, Eco Shop selling produce grown in their organic gardens, and nature walk along the Nanny riverside.

“Furthermore, this simple change which would provide a public bus service between Julianstown and Laytown would also connect the existing Bus Eireann Dublin/ Airport/Drogheda bus route which currently stops in Julianstown, to Laytown, Bettystown, Mornington and Donacarney.

“As it is, most people from the East Meath coastal villages have to disembark from the Dublin/ Airport bus at Julianstown or Drogheda and get a taxi for the remainder of their journey.

“I have written to Bus Eireann and the National Transport Authority requesting that they examine the feasibility of extending this much needed service.

“While people living in this area have warmly welcomed the recent improvements to the bus service between Drogheda and Laytown, a bus link to the main Dublin Road from the villages is long overdue especially given the huge and ongoing population explosion in the area.”

School Transport Chaos affecting Louth families – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that it is ‘ridiculous and unnecessary’ that substantial numbers of school pupils across Louth have been refused concessionary school transport places just weeks before the beginning of the new school term.

Councillor Ó Murchú stated:

“I am working with a number of families who have been refused school transport for the upcoming term.

“In many cases these pupils have received concessionary bus passes for years and families have built their daily routines around this provision.

“Thankfully some of these people have since received bus passes within the last number of days, but not all families are catered for.

“This fiasco occurs every summer and leads to unnecessary stress and annoyance for many families.

“Joe McHugh, the Minister for Education, who has ultimate responsibility for this scheme, indicated in media reports in recent days that the issue could be resolved with an additional investment of €4 million.

“He has said that efforts to agree this investment are being blocked by the Department of Public Expenditure.

“I have written to the Minister for Finance to ask him to re-examine this scheme and the manner in which it is operated by Bus Éireann. Sinn Féin has also called for changes to be made to the scheme.

“We simply cannot allow a system to prevail which causes this much uncertainty and annoyance to local families.”

Transport discrimination for disabled, form of apartheid – Munster

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has urged the government to commit to improving public transport for people with disabilities, in order to put an end to the ongoing discrimination experienced by disabled passengers.

She was speaking during a Sinn Féin Private Members bill which called on the government to  to undertake the ratification of the Optional Protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that no longer will people with disabilities be denied access to the key mechanism for address and redress of the denial of their rights under the Convention.

Deputy Munster said:

“The government previously gave a commitment to ratify both the Convention and the Optional Protocol. They have now reneged on ratifying the Optional Protocol, which gives people with disabilities access to the mechanism for the redress of the denial of their rights under the Convention”.

“There are over 650,000 people in this state living with a disability. Most of this number rely on public transport to access work, healthcare and social and community activities”.

“Currently disabled people travelling on coaches or trains have to plan journeys days in advance. They have to deal with unmanned train stations, bus stops that are unsuitable for ramps and lifts and coaches which are inaccessible due to stairs.”

“It is unacceptable that prior notice for travel is still required.”

“These problems are easily remedied, but that requires political will and funding from government”.

“At my constituency clinics in Louth and East Meath I regularly deal with cases where people are left at the side of the road, or on platforms, because transport providers let them down. It’s humiliating for the people involved, but it’s the state and the NTA who should be ashamed of themselves”.

“This has been described by disability activists as a form of apartheid. There is a separation of rights, and disabled people have been left out in the cold”.

“The government claims it is in favour of people with disabilities having equal access to work and participation. If they are serious about this they need to prove that by addressing the ongoing issues that are currently having a detrimental effect on the day to day lives of people with disabilities”.

Sinn Féin amendment passed at Transport Committee to push Ross into action – Imelda Munster TD

imelda-munster-tdSinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD today put forward an amendment to a motion before the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport on the Bus Éireann crisis calling on all stakeholders to get involved in talks to resolve the dispute, and seeking to establish the cause of the financial crisis at Bus Éireann. The amendment to a motion proposed by Fianna Fáil was accepted by the committee. Fianna Fáil withdrew their motion and Deputy Munster’s amendment was carried.

Deputy Munster has once again called on the Minister to facilitate talks between all relevant stakeholders, including the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport to resolve the dispute.

She also called on the Minister to carry out of a full review of the Expressway service and market, and to carry out a review of loss-making routes to establish whether the over-saturation of the market is the cause of the current difficulties in Bus Éireann.

Deputy Munster said:

“Whilst I agreed with much of the original motion, I felt that it was too vague and it needed strengthening. That is why I put an amendment to the motion and I am happy that the committee supported that amendment today.

“Minister Ross has gone missing again. The situation is escalating week by week and he is refusing to do his job. I hope that by establishing the cause of the crisis we can come to a real solution. In the meantime I hope that Minister Ross will come to his senses and take his responsibilities as Minister seriously. Our public transport network depends on it.

“No one wants to see a strike. It’s not fair on the travelling public or on the workers.”

Imelda Munster TD tackles Minister on Drogheda slip road tolls

Imelda Munster white coatSinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD today questioned Minister Shane Ross about the ongoing matter of slip road tolls in Drogheda. Speaking in the Dáil, she accused Minister Ross of failing to take on board the adverse effect the tolls have on the people of Drogheda.

Deputy Munster said:

“The Minister doesn’t care about the people of Drogheda. People are being taxed for living, working, shopping and visiting Drogheda town. This affects local businesses, investment and tourism in the town.”

Deputy Munster said that it was ludicrous that people have to pay a toll to get from one side of the town to the other.

Deputy Munster continued:

“Why would any investor choose Drogheda over other towns when people are asked to pay a toll on entry and exit? It’s the only tolled town in Ireland. The Minister needs to get real and do something about it.”

Deputy Munster said that the Minister accepted the reasoning given by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on the matter. They have commissioned a “bespoke”, or made to order, survey in Drogheda to protect the impact and cost of toll removal.

Deputy Munster concluded:

“This methodology is not applied on any other motorway. It is incredible, ridiculous and invented to come up with calculations not used anywhere else. It makes it impossible to compare the potential costs of toll removal.

“The Minister and TII know that they can’t justify it. Minister Ross needs to accept that the slip road tolls are not working for Drogheda or for the people of Drogheda. He needs to take action on this.”