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Locals protest over Carracastle bus-service cuts

Locals protest over Carracastle bus-service cuts

Anton McNulty

Demonstrations against Bus Éireann and cutbacks to bus services through the village of Carracastle will continue until the full service is restored according to a local councillor.
A protest took place at the bus stop in Charlestown yesterday (Monday) morning despite the decision by Bus Éireann to retain a bus services in the border village of Carracastle. The village which is located along the old N5 between Charlestown and Ballaghaderreen was served with up to six bus services. That service has now been reduced to just one.
Bus Éireann had originally planned to completely axe bus services through the village, but it decided last week to retain the Expressway service from Ballina to Dublin. Local councillor Gerry Murray told The Mayo News said there was no financial reason to withdraw the services from the village and said the local community will continue to campaign to restore the previous services.
The local community has set up a twitter account (twitter.com/SaveOurBus1) to highlight their concerns, and Cllr Murray said another protest will take place today in Ballaghaderreen.
“Basically we want to send out a signal to CIE and Bus Éireann that we are serious about the situation and that we have a legitimate grievance. We want to engage with officials in Bus Éireann and the Minister [Alan Kelly] as well. What is unique about the Carracastle situation is that there is no net saving at all to Bus Éireann. It means the company will incur in excess of 200 miles every year for the privilege of by-passing Carracastle. It is a shorter route by going through Carracastle. The fact that Bus Éireann will not be able to make a financial argument to government, we are hoping the Minister will veto the decision and restore all the services to Carracastle,” he said.
The current bus service sees a bus serving Carracastle twice a day at 10am and a return journey at 9.30pm and Cllr Murray said there was too big a gap for people to return to Carracastle if they are going to Balladerreen in the morning.
“There was six buses going up and six buses going down in the day and now we are reduced to two buses which is of no use to anybody. There are elderly people out there in social housing and what brought them there was the comprehensive bus service. The housing scheme was right outside the bus stop and people without private transport were able to use the bus to go into town.”

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