Speaking in Leinster House on the issue of Bus Éireann, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal Martin Kenny said that public transport is a public service and does not have to be profit-making to be successful.
Deputy Kenny said:
“A successful public transport service is one which provides an adequate transport service to citizens and if that involves subsidy, then so be it.
“There is no denying that Bus Éireann is in trouble at the moment but it is no wonder when it seems to be run in such a way as to ensure it will not break even, never mind make a profit.
“Who takes the bus? In this state at the moment, it is the young, the old, the poor and tourists. In other words, the people who have little choice, but it doesn’t have to be like that.
“It is possible with good management, by listening to transport users and taking on board what they have to say, to create a service which will, by offering more, attract more people to use public transport.
“There are in Government and outside of it, the likes of Michael O’Leary of Ryanair, for example, who constantly suggest that somehow a privatised transport system would improve the service to our citizens. We only have to look across the water to Britain to see what a disaster privatisation of transport was there.
“And of course, there are hundreds of towns and villages all over Ireland which have little or no transport at all. It is government policy that if you live in rural Ireland and you cannot afford a car, or cannot drive for some other reason, then you can stay where you are, even if that means restricting citizens’ access to work, study, healthcare or a social life.
“Rural transport is a vital factor in maintaining life in rural Ireland. Bus Éireann is part of the vital infrastructure which must be maintained and developed.”