Mr. Ivor Callely, T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Transport today (Friday, 29th October 2004) pledged that he, as Minister of State with particular responsibility for public transport accessibility "looked forward to the challenges of improving and developing accessible transport systems" during his term in office. The Minister was speaking at a Seminar on Progress in Public Transport Accessibility - The Irish Experience - held in Dublin Castle.
Minister Callely spoke of the availability and accessibility of transport being a fundamental requirement for accessing facilities and services. For that reason, he said "the accessibility of public transport has been identified as a core area to be developed in the Disability Strategy that was recently launched by the Government. As part of that strategy my Department has produced an Outline Plan for Accessible Public Transport Services over the coming years. The Plan outlines the Department's proposals in relation to the ongoing development of accessible public transport services for people with mobility and sensory impairments".
However, the Minister stressed that the Plan is a draft consultation document. "It is not the finished product. As Minister I am anxious to get as many views on the proposals contained in it as is possible. Therefore, I will welcome your comments on it. I can assure you that all your comments will be taken into consideration in finalising the Plan".
The Minister spoke of the major Government investment - €1.6bn - that has been made in the area of public transport here in recent years. "Significant progress has been achieved, particularly over the past five years. However, we are not resting on our laurels; much more remains to be done and I am very happy to play my part in working towards a fully accessible public transport system in Ireland", he concluded.