The "delay in re-establishing" the bus and coach sector will have "serious consequences for our obligations under climate change legislation" and "implications for the tourist industry" in Galway.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly, who was reacting to the Government’s decision to grant €10 million Business Continuity Fund for Coach Tourism Operators in the July Stimulus Plan
The representative body for private bus and coach operators, the Coach Tourism & Transport Council described the allocation as a welcome decision, but said it still “falls short” of what is required to help coach tour operators to "stay afloat". Dep Connolly has raised similar concerns, and added that it is also not clear how the €10 million is going to be used.
'The bus and coach sector has become an integral part of the transport system to and from Galway and the city simply cannot afford to lose it'
In response to questions in the Dáil on Tuesday, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said a specific scheme would have to be designed. Dep Connolly welcomed this, but said there seemed to be "no recognition" that the matter is urgent, and she was critical of no date being given for the completion of such a scheme.
"Busses and coaches have not operated for over four months," she said. "The longer the Government delays, the more likely this industry will not recover, leaving a huge void in the public transport sector. The bus and coach sector has become an integral part of the transport system to and from Galway and the city simply cannot afford to lose it."
She said it also made "no sense" that a tourism taskforce had been established without any representative from the bus and coach sector. Dep Connolly said she has written to the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, emphasising the urgency of the matter and asking for a date on which the specific scheme will be published.