Updated: 04/12/17 : 06:04:23
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Sligo ignored in new late night rural bus service

A late night rural bus service is being planned for 15 counties, however Sligo has been omitted from the plan.

The proposed extended service will be on existing routes while it is being piloted, and is under active consideration by the Transport Minister, Shane Ross.

The new proposal would see existing routes in 15 counties extend their operating hours until around 11pm between Thursday and Sunday nights. The scheme would be provided by the Local-Link service and cost €1.06m and is under active consideration by the Transport Minister, Shane Ross.

A spokesperson for Mr Ross was last night unable to say whether he views the idea positively. His controversial drink-driving legislation is due back on the Dáil agenda before Christmas.

Fine Gael has developed the plan with Local Link operators, which is overseen by the National Transport Authority.

Drink driving

Party Chairman Martin Heydon says it is about connecting rural communities and not just servicing rural pubs in the face of Shane Ross's tough new drink driving rules.

He said: "Well if you look at these rural bus services at present most of them finish at 3.30pm or 4.00pm in the day and that is an awful long time in the evening for people who live alone in areas that are quite isolated.

"The idea of this bus trip is about giving people in those areas, who don't have access to transport, that option of being able to go into their nearest town or village or perhaps visit neighbours in those areas.

"It is a lot more than just giving access to a local pub."

The 15 counties are: Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick, Donegal, Waterford, Wexford, Laois, Offaly, Cavan, Monaghan, Westmeath, Longford, Meath and Tipperary.