Ac­tive re­tire­ment group slams ‘booze bus’ plans

EVENING BUS ‘WON’T MEET THE NEEDS OF AUGHRIM COM­MU­NITY’

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

A NEW Fri­day evening ru­ral trans­port route con­nect­ing a num­ber of south Wick­low vil­lages to Ark­low has been crit­i­cised by the Aughrim Ac­tive Re­tire­ment Group, which has branded it a ‘booze bus’ which does not of­fer mean­ing­ful trans­port to those who need it most.

The group has been lob­by­ing for im­proved ru­ral trans­port links for many years, and chair­per­son Mar­garet Brady ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment that an evening ser­vice would be in­tro­duced be­fore a much-needed day­time ser­vice.

Ad­dress­ing mem­bers of Ark­low Mu­nic­i­pal District at their May meet­ing which was held in Aughrim, Ms Brady said that the Ac­tive Re­tire­ment Group has been lob­by­ing Lo­cal Link for some time seek­ing trans­port which would en­able ac­cess to Ark­low town dur­ing busi­ness hours to fa­cil­i­tate med­i­cal ap­point­ments.

‘Hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in con­sul­ta­tions on pub­lic trans­port ser­vices, we were very dis­ap­pointed to learn in the Wick­low Peo­ple that, in­stead of pro­vid­ing mean­ing­ful pub­lic trans­port ser­vices for peo­ple in Aughrim, tax pay­ers will be fund­ing three booze buses ev­ery Fri­day pass­ing through Aughrim. While this has been wel­comed by some coun­cil­lors, we feel the need to point out that in­stead of im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life of the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in the Aughrim area, this ser­vice will only ser­vice to fa­cil­i­tate al­co­hol con­sump­tion and pro­vide fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit to mem­bers of the Vint­ners’ Fed­er­a­tion,’ Ms Brady said.

She also high­lighted com­ments by Min­is­ter for Trans­port Shane Ross, in­di­cat­ing that publicans should ar­range trans­port op­tions for cus­tomers, but said that a year later, ‘the Min­is­ter ap­pears to have de­cided that in­stead, we tax pay­ers should pro­vide this ser­vice on their be­half ’.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Brady, older peo­ple in Aughrim, in par­tic­u­lar, are very iso­lated by the lack of ru­ral trans­port ser­vices and very of­ten have no choice but to pay €50 for a re­turn taxi jour­ney to at­tend health­care ap­point­ments. She called for mean­ing­ful mea­sures to be put in place to pro­vide trans­port ser­vices for those who need them.

Mar­garet Brady of Aughrim Ac­tive Re­tire­ment.

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