Publicans have raised concerns that people in rural parts of Cork are being isolated with no transport to enable them to have a social life.
Owner of the Castle Inn Pub, Michael O’Donovan has said that publicans feel that there is a lack of public transport in rural parts of Cork, leaving locals feeling isolated and heavily reliant on their own cars. As a result, it makes it hard for them to go out and socialise unless they drive to pubs or bars.
Mr O’Donovan told The Echo: “Isolation is becoming a big problem in rural areas for their morale and their lifestyles, it’s really changing it. There is life outside of the M50, a lot of our ministers are in Dublin from Monday to Friday and can quite easily live life without a car but in rural Ireland, you can’t exist without a car."
"Yes in Cork we have a good transport system but if you go just 10 miles outside the city it’s not as good.”
Michael is also the chairperson of the Vintners Federation of Ireland’s Cork branch. He says that at the organisation's AGM being held in Cork, members of the VFI plan to raise awareness to the Minister and the public that something needs to be done.
“We’re asking the minister to have a look at rural transport, maybe they can even make requirements for people specifically who live locally to have access to getting a licence to drive people to the pub or drive people home from the pub. Just to introduce that system so people would have the option to do it,” he said.
The Vintners Federation of Ireland is an organisation that provides support and legal advice for publicans across Ireland.
Their AGM took place in Cork last night, where they plan to take advantage of the large platform to raise awareness of the issues at hand, such as reminding the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD that he needs to be more vocal regarding the new drink-driving legislation that was introduced in late 2018.
Michael told The Echo that the VFI feel the Minister has vanished since the legislation came into effect.
“We’ve been raising these issues since November but once a year we get one big platform at our AGM to say this and this is why we’re saying it now but we’ve been very vocal prior to the last legislation being introduced on this but unfortunately our Minister for Transport has gone very quiet and hasn’t been seen to be doing much since we brought in this legislation,” Michael said.
His comments were backed up by the VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben who said the government had passed legislation that has a disproportionately negative impact on rural areas compared to major cities.
“If you live in Dublin you can take the DART or Luas but obviously, those options are not available elsewhere. The legislation was introduced in isolation without any thought about providing alternative transport solutions for rural communities. Rural Ireland is desperate for access to a sustainable transport service”.