A public meeting is expected to take place in Rooskey on Wednesday, October 17 next at 8:30pm over the removal of bus services from the area in the last few weeks by Bus Eireann.
Described by the company as improvements to the service from Dublin to Sligo, Bus Eireann moved to cut commuter times by using the M4 motorway and Dromod-Rooskey bypass. After consultations last week, Bus Eireann have agreed to introduce, on a six-month trial basis, a once daily service through the villages of Dromod (7.32am) and Rooskey (7.35am) to Longford town which then returns through the villages at 7.30pm and 7.33pm.
A petition to have the services fully reinstated is currently underway in the locality and details have been placed in both the local post office and in the Centra store. Residents say that the move has had a negative impact on their lives and concerns are now mounting for elderly neighbours and friends who availed of the services to purchase medication and attend health facilities in Longford town.
“It’s an absolute disgrace what Bus Eireann have done,” an exacerbated Larry O’Connor told the Leader. Mr O’Connor said he moved to the area last August because of its idyllic location and the availability of public transport to major towns in the locality.
“For people that are unemployed and need to go into Longford town to sign on, it’s a nightmare because they have to go in at 7:30am and then are forced to hang around the town for 10 or more hours until the 7:30pm bus leaves. There is no chemist here in Rooskey and there were lots of people using the bus to get into town to buy medication or attend the doctor – what are they supposed to do now?”
Mr O’Connor went on to say that for those who were “able-bodied”, spending the day in town to catch a bus home - while a major inconvenience - was nothing compared to the hardship being experienced by disabled members of the community - all as a direct result of the removal of public transport, he pointed out.
“At least the likes of me can walk around the town, but what about those who are disabled?”, he said. “Can you imagine how difficult it is for them?
Bus Eireann announced that services from Elphin, Dromod and Rooskey would be curtailed as and from October 7 last. The company informed passengers about the move on September 25, 2012 and according to Mr O’Connor, the provision of two weeks’ notice to service users, “was totally unacceptable”.
“There is pure anger here in Rooskey and in Dromod at the moment,” he further added. “People have emailed Transport Minister, Leo Vradkar, but he has not responded and as far as we are concerned, he is the only one with the power to reverse the decision that was made.”
The local man also explained that Bus Eireann had changed the route of the current service, by factoring in the bypass - a move he believes is not economically viable.