The Minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O'Rourke TD, today announced the successful applicants for funding for a new pilot rural transport scheme.
Nineteen community groups have been selected under the innovative Rural Transport Initiative (RTI), which is aimed at improving transport in parts of the country where people have limited access. Funding of €3.8 million is being provided.
The groups are drawn from among other locations: Galway, Mayo, Limerick, Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary.
Minister O'Rourke stated: "When we launched this project last Summer we knew there would be a lot of interest. There certainly has been and I am delighted to be able to announce the successful applicants selected by outside consultants, Area Development Management.
"The RTI project is a simple one - aimed at supporting community based approaches to providing transport in rural areas for people with limited access. Recent studies conducted at local and county level estimate that between 10%-25% of rural people have difficulty in accessing basic essential services. This pilot project will look at ways of addressing this problem," the Minister stated.
"I am confident that the experience gained from these projects will have a significant impact on devising new approaches to public transport services in rural areas," the Minister added.
The consultants administered the project on behalf of the Department of Public Enterprise. This followed a rigorous independent assessment of all applications.
An inter-Departmental committee on rural public transport was recently established with the objective of bringing forward policy options for rural public transport policy. The experience gained from the Rural Transport Initiative will have an important bearing on the development of that policy.
All of the applicants for funding under the RTI are community based groups who are working with the community, statutory and transport sectors locally to identify the transport needs of individuals and the types of responses which are most suitable for the local areas. It is hoped that by using local knowledge and resources, an effective and co-ordinated transport system can be developed.
There are two stages to the Rural Transport Initiative. There is the pre-development stage which is for groups who need time and resources to identify local needs or involve the community in a wider way before applying for operational funding. The operational stage on the other hand is for groups who have developed project plans and are ready to begin their transport immediately.
Avondhu Area Transport Partnership
County Limerick /North Cork Transport Group
South East Galway I.R.D.
Aughrim Tidy Towns Ltd. (Co. Wicklow)
Conamara Local Transport Partnership
Meitheal Mhaigh Eo
Community of Lough Arrow (Co. Sligo)
Pairtiocht Ghaeltacht Thir Chonaill Teo and South West Donegal Communities Ltd.
Comharchumann Chleire Teo
Kerry Community Transport
Meath Accessible Transport
Rural Lift (Co. Leitrim / Co. Cavan)
Bantry Integrated Development Group
Oak Partnership (Co. Offaly / Co. Kildare)
Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary Rural Transport
East Clare Accessible Transport
South Kildare Rural Transport