News & Media

Time for a Rural Transport Guarantee and supports for rural pubs

15 May 2019

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

The Labour Party has published ‘Connecting Rural Ireland’ our new policy that commits to a Rural Transport Guarantee. Labour TD for Tipperary Alan Kelly who developed key sections to support rural pubs and transport schemes said that solutions are available but the commitment from Government has not been there.

The new policy commits to:

  • A Rural Transport Guarantee so that every area has access to a decent public transport service.
  • A relaunched Rural Hackney Scheme including start up grants for areas with no service and supports for publicans who seek a license.
  • A new Scheme to subsidise low-cost self-test breathalysers.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The biggest issue facing rural Ireland is connectivity – economically, socially and digitally. The Labour Party has published ‘Connecting Rural Ireland’ and it includes our plans for a rural transport guarantee along with proposals to support rural pubs, and their customers.

“Rural communities have been cut-off from vital social and economic services due to the absence of a reliable public transport service. In 2013, I introduced the Local Area Hackney Scheme to serve isolated rural villages. However, since then no concrete action has been taken to promote, resource or expand this scheme, once again letting down rural Ireland.

“I am proposing that we re-launch a simplified version of the Rural Hackney Scheme to serve isolated communities and provide a Rural Transport Guarantee to all rural areas, towns and children attending public schools.

“Providing publicans who want to provide a transport service with subsidies for a hackney license is a common sense solution. Many pubs already provide a lift home but high insurance costs is a major barrier to expanding it. This would be a lifeline to rural communities.

“People also shouldn’t be afraid to go for a drink in their local pub and publicans should be supported to provide social outlets in rural communities. A big worry for people is the fear that they are over the limit after being out for a few drinks the night before. Labour wants to see a scheme introduced to increase the availability of low-cost self-test breathalysers so people can check the morning after if they are ok to drive.”

“We also commit to a Rural Transport Guarantee so that every area will have access to a reliable, affordable and environmentally-friendly public transport service.”

ENDS

The full policy is available here: https://www.labour.ie/manifesto/connecting-rural-ireland/

 

RURAL TRANSPORT GUARANTEE

Rural communities have been cut-off from vital social and economic services due to the absence of a reliable public transport service. In 2013, Labour introduced the Local Area Hackney Scheme to serve isolated rural villages. However, since then no concrete action has been taken to promote, resource or expand this scheme, once again letting down rural Ireland.

Labour will:

- Provide a Rural Transport Guarantee so that every town will have access to a reliable, affordable and environmentally-friendly public transport service

- Expand the current Local Links program and fully integrate it with other transport modes

- Introduce a scheme to increase the availability of low-cost self-test breathalysers to provide assurance to motorists, such as in the morning after socialising

- Increase local authority funding for rural road maintenance, particularly for third class roads

- Increase the number of charging points for electric cars in rural Ireland

- Promote driving lessons for transition-year secondary school students, to improve road

safety and seek a reduction in insurance premiums for young drivers upon completion

- Create segregated off-road cycle lanes which are safer for both rural cyclists and motorists

- Introduce segregated bike lines through rural town centres, secure cycle stands in towns and at schools, and safe routes for schoolchildren cycling to school

Labour will re-launch a simplified version of the Rural Hackney Scheme to serve isolated communities and provide a Rural Transport Guarantee to all rural towns and children attending public schools.

Labour will:

- Provide subsidies for operators in rural areas and promote hackney licences for publicans as part of the Rural Hackney Scheme to allow people to socialise without having to drive

- Ensure tenders and start-up grants for rural hackneys where no service currently exists

- Promote a Pooled Group Insurance scheme for hackney drivers to lower their premiums

- Introduce a School Bus Guarantee so that every child has a place on school transport