Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Rural Transport Services
71. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the steps she is taking to highlight and prioritise rural transport needs to the Department of Transport including the integration of local link services and the subsidised hackney scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43327/20]
My Department is currently finalising a new rural development policy for the period 2021–2025, which will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland. The new policy will be forward looking and will reflect other relevant Government initiatives to support rural Ireland.
As part of the development of the policy an extensive consultation process has been undertaken which helped to identify the issues that matter most to people living and working in rural areas. A wide range of stakeholders, including Government Departments and State agencies, were involved in these consultations.
The provision of reliable, integrated public transport services was identified as of key importance by many people who participated in the consultation process at workshops throughout the country in 2019. My Department has highlighted this to the Department of Transport through Departmental consultations on the rural policy. My Department also has on-going engagements with the National Transport Authority which oversees the Local Link service.
I anticipate that the issue of rural transport will be reflected in the new rural policy when it is published in the New Year.