Carol Nolan TD
Offaly TD Carol Nolan is calling for more investment and incentives for the mobilisation of rural dwellers across the country.
Concerned with the indicators of increasing rural isolation in villages, towns and rural hinterlands and its socio-economic impact on the sustainability of rural communities, Deputy Nolan stated that, “transport infrastructure is absolutely critical to the revival and growth of rural Ireland."
"The absence of public transport infrastructure in rural areas has a profound impact on the economic, social and cultural opportunities for people of all ages living in rural Ireland," she said.
"Public transport policy is predicated on the assumption that people outside of urban centres have their own independent means of transport but this is far from reality. In recent years the barriers to owning, insuring, taxing and maintaining a car are so onerous as to be impossible for hundreds of thousands of people of all ages across the country, Deputy Nolan continued.
She stated that, “Government must understand that social isolation is no longer just a characteristic of older populations as nowadays, an increasing number of employable adults, teens and children find themselves unable to participate in economic activity and community life."
"Commuting to work and education; accessing childcare; shopping and paying bills; participating in sport and recreation; and attending church events, these are some of the essential everyday activities that are becoming increasingly inaccessible to rural dwellers.”
"The austerity years has seen a prohibitive increase in car ownership costs; a reduction in public transport routes and the discontinuation of hackney services in rural localities. As the distress of the austerity years abates and the economy show signs of vitalisation, a widening gap of opportunity is emerging between urban and rural communities."
Nolan went on to say that, “when severe weather brings Dublin transport services to a standstill, it is a matter of ongoing national news coverage and the mobilisation of workers becomes a top priority, yet, there are thousands of square miles of rural Ireland which are at a permanent all-year round standstill with little commentary."
"It is arguably a greater priority to mobilise the 3 million dwellers outside of Dublin than the 1 million in the capital, however, transport in rural areas is of little political concern," she blasted.
Deputy Nolan proposes a raft of measures to get rural Ireland moving, including increased financial investment in the Local Link Rural Transport service; reduced car insurance; VRT and Motor Tax exemptions for private transport providers; and increased investment in cycle ways are just some of the proposals Deputy Nolan will be putting before Government in the coming months.
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