Irish Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan came under criticism for failing bus services (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Regional Signal

Cork city councillors demand action over deteriorating bus services


Cork, Ireland

Cork county councillors have taken a unified stand against what they perceive as a decline in the reliability of bus services across urban and rural areas.

Expressing deep concern over a surge in cancelled and late buses since Christmas, councillors are calling on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and the National Transport Authority (NTA) to intervene promptly.

The sentiment among councillors reflects mounting frustration among commuters who find themselves grappling with inconsistent and undependable bus services.

Seamus McGrath, a Carrigaline-based Fianna Fáil councillor, highlighted the pressing need for intervention, stressing that commuters “can’t trust the service” amidst recurrent disruptions.

“The public find themselves let down again and again by cancelled and late buses,” McGrath said, echoing the sentiments shared by many councillors.

The unreliability of the service has not only inconvenienced commuters but has also strained trust in the transport system.

Councillor Audrey Buckley of the centrist Fianna Fáil party, residing in Crosshaven, voiced concerns raised by parents whose children face challenges attending college or work due to unreliable bus services.

Similarly, centre-right Fine Gael councillor Una McCarthy lamented instances where multiple buses servicing the Cork’s satellite town of Carrigaline were cancelled, leaving commuters stranded.

Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton, representing the nearby town of Passage West, expressed dismay over the deteriorating reliability of bus services, noting a significant decline in service quality since before Christmas.

The collective outcry from councillors underscores the gravity of the situation, with widespread calls for immediate intervention to address systemic deficiencies in bus services across Cork county. The reliability and punctuality of bus services are essential components of sustainable transportation networks, integral to fostering public trust and promoting modal shift towards eco-friendly alternatives.

As Cork’s public transport system grapples with operational challenges, the demand for accountability and tangible solutions remains paramount. The impending correspondence to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and the NTA signifies a pivotal moment in advocating for systemic reforms and restoring confidence in Cork’s bus services.

The news comas as last autumn a report was released last autumn by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) which light on Ireland’s local government system.

The report labelled local Irish government as among the most limited and centralised in Europe. The report highlights concerns over the system’s lack of representation, noting an average of 5,399 people per councillor, the lowest per capita representation in Europe.

Criticism extends to the narrow range of functions allocated to Irish local governments, particularly in welfare areas, failing to align with principles of subsidiarity. The imbalance of power between elected members and chief executives further exacerbates concerns, with local councils lacking discretion over resources and administrative supervision remaining extensive and detailed.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Pat Fitzpatrick, president of the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG), advocates for substantial devolution of power to local authorities, urging a fundamental review of Ireland’s local government system.

The report recommends transferring additional functions to local authorities, reducing administrative supervision, and enhancing elected members’ influence over executive matters.

As Ireland strives to meet European standards of local self-government, the report underscores the imperative for systemic reforms to foster greater democratic accountability and representation within the country’s local governance framework.