Bus Éireann crisis looms large as Ross remains silent – local bus services must be protected in West Cork –

FIANNA Fáil TD for Cork South West, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has accused the Minister for Transport Shane Ross of taking a hands-off approach to dealing with the crisis facing Bus Éireann.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony made the remarks following a special Dáil debate, secured by Fianna Fáil, on the difficulties facing Bus Éireann.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony explained, “People have been growing increasingly frustrated with the manner in which the Government is dealing with the crisis at Bus Éireann. Minister Ross has failed to take on board the enormous difficulties that the company is facing. The company reported losses of €5.3m in 2016 and even greater losses are projected for 2017.

“Local bus services in West Cork are vitally important in allowing people go about their daily lives. In many remote communities, it’s the only mode of transport for people to attend their doctor, go to the post office or the shop. It’s an essential service that needs to be protected.

“The cash reserves that the company has on hand are quickly evaporating and core services are at risk of being axed entirely. However Minister Ross remains silent despite having overall responsibility for public transport services. It’s simply not tenable for the Minister to continue to ignore this problem. It is absurd that he continues to deny any responsibility for dealing with a crisis which could result in the collapse of public transport services in communities right across the country.

“It has been suggested that the Expressway service could be axed entirely as a result of the financial difficulties facing Bus Éireann. This would cause severe hardship for many people in Tipperary who rely on the service on a daily basis. It’s important that the Government uses its powers as a Stakeholder to ensure there are no destructive changes made to the Expressway service.

“It’s time for Minister Ross to show some leadership by confronting the crisis facing our public transport system. Ignoring the crisis will not make it go away,” concluded Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.