Local Laois Politicians respond to axing of Bus Eireann route
All Laois and Offaly TD’s have been contacted as well as the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD and his Green Party colleague Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Senator Pippa Hackett in relation to the axing of the X12 Bus Route. Of these seven Brian Stanley TD and Minister Sean Fleming have responded so far.
Axing of Bus Eireann routes direct result of a previous Fianna Fáil Government policy- Stanley
Sinn Fein TD says that the end of the Bus Eireann service connecting towns in the Laois to Cork, Limerick and Dublin is a further blow to the County. The axing of these routes flies in the face of what is supposed to be Government policy, ie to make improvements to public transport. It’s worth noting that this Government has a Green Minister for Transport. Also of note is the fact that during the major Covid lockdown in March to June BS alone provided continuity of service on these routes
“What has happened this week is a direct result of previous Fianna Fail Government policy. When these routes were deregulated, Sinn Fein and others pointed out at the time that Bus Eireann would not be able to compete with private operators whose workers would not have the same pay and terms and conditions as Bus Eireann staff and drivers. Gradually over the last decade or more Bus Eireann service has been gradually undercut by this “race to the bottom,’ just as we predicted.
“The Bus Eireann management also has questions to answer in that they deliberately pulled these services out of towns and villages such as Durrow, Abbeyleix, Bossis in Ossory, Castletown, Mountrath and Ballybrittas in Laois over the past decade and thereby reduced passenger numbers.
The Minister for Transport and the National Transport Association (NTA) now need to re-examine these routes with a view to reinstating this service and a proper campaign to promote the routes.
However Minister of State at the Department of Finance Sean Fleming TD and member of previous Fianna Fail-led Governments has a different take on the route’s axing but deemed it a disgrace as well.
Sean Fleming T.D., Minister of State in the Department of Finance branded the decision of Bus Eireann to cancel their Expressway Route X12 from Limerick to Dublin which includes Portlaoise an absolute disgrace.
Minister Fleming has requested a commitment from Bus Eireann that they will re-instate this route to its normal capacity after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Currently this route from Dublin to Limerick goes through Portlaoise 6 times a day and the route from Limerick to Dublin goes through Portlaoise 5 times a day. Major towns with populations of approximately 30,000 like Portlaoise and other major towns like Roscrea and Nenagh must have a national bus service.
It is inconceivable that a national bus company would not have an inter-city bus service between Dublin and Limerick. If it cannot provide this service it is not fit for purpose and should not be considered a national bus company any further.
I have contacted the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D., saying it is Government policy to promote public transport and the idea that everybody should get off the busses and drive to Dublin every day for work or do their business is not the way forward.
The Minister must contact Bus Eireann and get a commitment that this service will be fully restored when it is safe to do so from a public health point of view.