Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke says Longford farmers will reap benefits from proposed changes to Fair Deal Scheme
Granard, Balinalee and Longford dwellers are to benefit from a new evening bus pilot scheme designed to connect communities and combat rural isolation, according to Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath Peter Burke.
“It was critical that Longford was included in the pilot scheme for a new night bus service. Due to the sparse dispersal of the population and the rural nature of the north of the county, an evening bus was needed and I am happy that this need has been recognised. This idea was proposed to the Minister for Transport last autumn by my Fine Gael colleague and Chair of our Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon TD.
“The National Transport Authority has now agreed that a series of 50 routes in 19 counties will have extended evening/weekend runs in a pilot scheme to operate from July to December. The buses will typically be available on Friday and Saturday evenings, between 6 and 11pm.
“In Longford, there will be a bus from Granard to Longford via Balinalee and back every Friday and Saturday night.
“In light of the new drink driving rules coming into force to increase safety on our roads, it is important to provide practical solutions to help combat potential isolation in our rural communities.
“This new night bus scheme is a great result for rural Ireland and just one example of how Fine Gael is using the economic recovery to strengthen and invest in rural communities.
“The 188 additional weekly bus runs will bring people into their local towns and villages in the evening times, driving economic activity in those areas. We are very clear this is not just about the pub. The new bus service will facilitate people to gather for whatever activity they wish be it a local event, a regular card game, a trip to watch a match, or a visit to the cinema, restaurant or pub.“Communities and local businesses in Granard, Balinalee and Longford will be able to organise new activities and events to attract residents in the evening, now that they know those residents will have this evening bus service available to them.
“We must continue to develop and improve a public transport service all over rural Ireland that empowers communities, local business and rural dwellers.”