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Rural transport

The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Alan Kelly, told Robert Troy (FF, Longford – Westmeath) that his department was currently exploring efficiencies that could be achieved by bringing together the rural transport programme, HSE transport, school transport and other transport programmes (Dail Eireann, Debates, 29th September 23011, 77-90).  A study of a pilot scheme on the integration of transport services had been carried out and he intended to publish it shortly, while a value-for-money and policy review of the rural transport programme had been completed, which he had received and also intended to publish shortly following consideration by government.

 Robert Troy complained that this told him nothing of what the government planned.  The rural transport programme was very significant, especially for the less well off, the marginalized and the elderly.  Would it be protected in the upcoming budget?  People were worried about it.  Alan Kelly told him that he came from a small rural community and was conscious of and passionate about the issue.  He intended to support rural transport because he knew its value.  The rural transport scheme provided great services, was quite successful in some areas and less successful in others.  It was necessary to examine how we could bring them together, examine all other services for greater connectivity, while we make the money we have go further.  The reports will be published in the coming weeks.  The pilot schemes are in the north west and north east.  He intended to address the matter in a renewed pilot scheme.

> Further debate: Rural transport: Seanad Eireann, Debates, 15th September 2011, 73-89.