Transport cuts will deprive communities: Sinn Fein

December 8, 2014

The recently announced expected cuts to transport services affecting the Newry and Armagh areas should only be made as a last resort, the Mayor of Newry and Mourne, Daire Hughes, has said.

Commenting following the news that Translink is proposing to axe a string of rural bus routes, along with urban services in Armagh city, Councillor Hughes says accessible and affordable public transport is an essential right and not a luxury.

“Once again our communities, and in particular the most vulnerable members of it, are being told that they will be deprived of an essential service.  Available, assessible and affordable transport is an essential right for all, not a luxury and that is the message myself and my Sinn Féin colleagues will be giving to Translink,” he said.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan confirmed he and his party colleague Mickey Brady MLA have asked for an urgent meeting with Translink senior management to discuss the issue.

Acknowleging the difficult economic conditions faced by many agencies, nevertheless Mr Boylan said the loss of such services to Armagh and Newry would be a devastating blow.

“Translink, like many other departments, agencies and businesses, no doubt are facing reduced revenue grants, however there has to be a balance when decisions about withdrawal of services are being made,” he said.

“Urban services in particular are important. Buses enable non-drivers to access jobs, shops, education, training and services. They also help create less traffic within the urban environs. Cuts in services to the public must be a last resort not a first option.”