Laois TDs have lambasted the decision by Bus Eireann to cancel their entire bus service in Mountrath, Castletown and Borris in Ossory.
Sean Fleming TD branding the move “an absolute disgrace”.
“Up to now the Dublin-Limerick bus went through these areas and there were eight buses each way each day. Bus Eireann has announced that from September 14 they are cancelling their entire service and will not come to these towns again,” Deputy Fleming explained.
“Very large numbers of people use these buses each day from these areas to go to work in Portlaoise, to do their shopping, visit family and get to medical appointments and for other purposes. Many people also use the bus to get to Dublin and back on a daily basis or to Roscrea and Limerick and back also,” he said.
“These towns are very busy pick up points for Bus Eireann and hundreds of people use this service on a weekly basis. The decision by Bus Eireann to say they want to use the motorway to get from Dublin to Limerick quicker is no excuse. They can not abandon all the towns between Dublin and Limerick and not provide a local service just because they want to use the motorway.”
Deputy Fleming pointed out that two years ago the company abandoned the service from Abbeyleix, Durrow and Cullohill on the Dublin-Cork route, and declared: “It appears now that Bus Eireann wants to provide no service whatever in County Laois.”
Calling on the Minister for Transport to put a stop to Bus Eireann’s abandonment of many areas throughout the country, Deputy Fleming said Bus Eireann receives funding to carry passengers on these routes from the taxpayer and they should be obliged to continue to do so. He said he had contacted the chief executive of Bus Eireann and the National Transport Authority demanding that they re-examine the situation and put back on a number of buses on the route each way, each day.
“Bus Eireann’s excuse that Kavanaghs have a bus on the route and will look after the local area is not satisfactory as people are entitled to a guaranteed service from the State company,” he said.
Meanwhile, Laois TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan expressed his disappointment at the decision.
“It is my understanding that Bus Eireann felt that these three towns were not providing sufficient passenger numbers to continue their service through. However, many of the those passengers who regularly used the bus service saw it a vital link to Portlaoise, Dublin or Limerick.
“I have contacted my Cabinet colleague, Minister Paschal Donohoe, and expressed my concerns that rural towns in Laois have been unfairly targeted by Bus Eireann for bus route cuts,” he said.
This is the latest Laois service to be cut from the Bus Eireann schedule. In 2012, Abbeyleix, Durrow, Cullahill and Johnstown were all cut from the Dublin/Cork route. In 2013, Portlaoise and Urlingford were also axed.