Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Free Transport Scheme.

Thursday, 19 June 1975

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 282 No. 6

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35.

Mr. Davern: Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the names of the private companies operating his Department's free transport scheme; and the areas covered by these companies.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  As part of the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to have the reply circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

[1187][1188]Private Bus Companies Bus Routes
Cassidy's Bus Service, Scotstown, County Monaghan. Monaghan—Knockatallon.
Monaghan—Scotstown.
Castlecomer Bus Service, Castlecomer, County Kilkenny. Castlecomer—Carlow.
Castlecomer—Carlow via the Swan and Fairymount.
Castlecomer—Kilkenny.
Castlecomer—Kilkenny via Ballyragget
O'Donoghue's Garage, Castletownbere, County Cork. Castletownbere—Bantry.
Castletownbere—Cork.
Castletownbere—Kenmare.
J. Falvey, Glengarriff. Castletownbere—Bantry.
Jackson's Coach Tours, Cavan. Cavan, Longford.
B. Kavanagh & Sons, Urlingford, County Kilkenny. Urlingford—Thurles.
Urlingford—Roscrea.
Urlingford—Kilkenny
M. Kavanagh, Tipperary. Tipperary—Thurles.
Clonmel—Tipperary.
Clonmel—Thurles.
J.J. Kavanagh, Urlingford, County Kilkenny. Urlingford—Kilkenny.
Urlingford—Clonmel.
Urlingford—Portlaoise.
Urlingford—Roscrea.
Kenneally's Bus Services, Waterford. Ferrybank—Grantstown.
Ferrybank—Slieverue.
Midland Bus Co., Ltd., Athlone. Athlone—Mullingar.
Ballymahon—Mullingar.
Nolan's Bus Service, Callan, County Kilkenny. Callan—Kilkenny.
Callan—Mullinabone.
Kilkenny—Tullaroan.
St. Kevin's Bus Service, Roundwood, County Wicklow. Glendalough—Dublin.
Roundwood—Bray.
Suir Valley Omnibus Service, Fiddown, County Kilkenny. Fiddown—Waterford.
Fiddown—Kilkenny.
Waterford—Bigwood.
Mooncoin—Waterford.
Suirway Bus Service, Knockroe, County Waterford. Waterford—Dunmore East.
Waterford—Passage East.
Waterford—Ballymacaw.
Waterford—Cheekpoint.
Waterford—Woodstown.
Tuam Chamber of Commerce, Tuam, County Galway. Tuam—Barnaderg.
Tuam—Kilkerrin.
Tuam—New Village.
Tuam—Roundfort.
Violet Bus Service, Blackrock, County Louth. Dundalk—Blackrock.
Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Co. 30 Routes in North County Donegal.

[1189]Mr. Davern: Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  Could the Minister say the number involved in the scheme as against the total number operating?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  All the information that is in my possession is in the tabular statement set out.

36.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that an old age pensioner who goes on a bus journey, part of which is in Northern Ireland, must pay for that part; and if he will ensure that such journeys will be free.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Since its introduction in July, 1967, the free travel scheme has been confined to scheduled transport services within the State. It does not extend to journey stages within Northern Ireland to destinations there, but a qualified person can travel free on a cross-Border journey ending at a destination within the State.

An extension of the scheme on the lines suggested by the Deputy is not at present contemplated.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  Would the Minister agree that situations are occurring where persons entitled to free travel under the scheme, travelling from, say, Carndonagh to Letterkenny, must travel to Derry city by bus, change bus and continue the journey? One leg of the journey ends in Northern Ireland and the other leg of the journey begins in Northern Ireland. The persons concerned have not got free travel although their entire journey begins and ends in the Republic. The same would apply to persons entitled to free travel when they are travelling to Dublin.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This is a very long question.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  On one public transport service they travel to Derry city. All of that is not free. Then they take a different bus operated by a different company from Derry city to Dublin and all that is not free. I am sure the Minister is not aware of these anomalies. Would he pass it on to the Minister?

[1190]Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I certainly will.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  Would he ensure that the Minister gives me some statement on it?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am sure the Minister will.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  It would be very easy to make a reciprocal arrangement because we give free travel to UK pensioners here.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I will take note of Deputy Brennan's statement.

37.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if the free travel facilities enjoyed by pensioners in this country extend to other countries; and if free travel facilities are provided in this country for visiting pensioners from abroad.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The free travel scheme administered by my Department covers all persons aged 67 or over who are permanently resident in the State and is confined to the scheduled transport services within the State of CIE and certain private transport companies.

The scheme, therefore, does not include transport services in areas outside the State and neither does it cover pensioners from abroad visiting the country.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  British and Northern Ireland pensioners living in the State are entitled to free travel in the Republic. The Minister says this was the situation from the inception of the scheme in 1967. It can be improved. Could I suggest that the improvement should be that travel within the island should be covered by the free travel scheme and that the arrangement be reciprocal as between the Six-county area and the Republic?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I know that the Minister for Social Welfare will be very sympathetic to any proposals for practical improvements that should be made in these services as he, of course, has been responsible for the most massive measure of improvements in these services carried out in the history of the State.

[1191]Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham  Zoom on Liam Cunningham  Would the Minister accept what I am saying now and trying to do now as a proposal?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am not empowered to accept proposals on behalf of the Department but I will certainly see that they are sympathetically considered.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Does the Minister say there should be free travel between the two parts?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Question No. 38, please.


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