'Drink-link' bus to service rural pubs in Offaly
Offaly is set to receive a state-funded bus service that will bring people home from rural pubs late at night. The service was announced at the weekend by Minister for Transport, Shane Ross.
The service will transport drinkers home from rural pubs until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Minister Ross' plans to impose more stringent drink-driving laws a number of months ago drew a severe backlash from rural TDs who claimed the measures would add to rural isolation, and this 'drink-link' measure is seen as a direct response to those concerns.
Offaly is one of the 19 counties listed for the service which will cost close to €500,000 for six months. Passengers will pay a nominal fee but travel pass holders and pensioners will travel for free.
The measure has been welcomed this week by Renua Ireland leader and Offaly County Councillor John leahy, who said, "for years I have been screaming in the Council Chamber that isolation in Rural Ireland is a major problem."
"We dont have the Luas, taxi's or public transport on our back door to cater for people in towns and villages in rural Ireland after 6pm," he commented.
"Irish Rural Link provides a great daily service thanks to the work of former councillor Sinead Dooley and her colleagues, and hopefully this is only the start of an adequate public transportation scheme to facilitate people in rural Ireland to go out and socialise with the comfort of safe reliable transport home," he concluded.
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