Updated: 09/05/18 : 06:33:29
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No new night Rural Link routes allocated to Sligo

New evening and night-time bus services will operate in dozens of rural areas from the end of next month, but not in Sligo.

A similar service has been in operation in west Sligo and Calry providing a vital transport link since 2003 but no new services have been added under the new Department of Transport initiative.

The new services, announced by Minister for Transport Shane Ross, are being rolled out on a trial basis in an effort to tackle rural isolation.

The scheme adds 188 extra trips a week to the country's rural transport network and will run on average from 6pm to 11pm, typically on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The 50 new services include 20 extensions to existing regular public transport routes in rural areas.

People can also pre-book a place on one of 30 new flexible routes to be brought to and from a social event, such as a game of bingo or bridge or to the pub.

The 19 areas to benefit are; Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Fingal, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford,  Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow.

The cost to the State of funding the new services for the six-month trial period is €450,000.

However Minister Ross insisted that no county application was rejected those not included did not apply.

He added that he was surprised that some counties did not apply to be included.

The minister said that he expected those counties to come forward and said the application process would be re-opened if areas that have not applied for a route would like to apply.

Mr Ross said the service would be examined, route by route, in December.