Concern over future of Carlow Town bus service and mention of 'business case' for the project

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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Councillors have expressed their concern over the future of the Carlow Town bus service and the mention of making a "business case" for the project. 

Members were given an update at this month's meeting of Carlow County Council when Director of Services at the local authority, Dan McInerney, said he was "disappointed" with the update from the National Transport Authority. 

The NTA had hoped that sanction to proceed to tender for the project would have been given in 2018 with the tender process taking place in the first three months of 2019.

"Unfortunately this has not transpired due to competing priorities within the NTA," according to the update given to members.

Councillors have expressed their concern over the mention of a "key deliverable" being the completion of a "business case" for the new bus service.

Cllr John Cassin said: "I assumed at this stage it would be up and running." While Cllr Fintan Phelan said it is a "worry" that they are now mentioning a "business case" for the project.

"Is there a possibility that this won't go ahead and that we may not get funding?" he asked. Cllr Andrea Dalton said: "I'm angry. We have been made look silly. We were told it would run for five years, business case or no business case."

Meanwhile Cllr Ken Murnane said now that they've been told they might be competing for funding is "totally unacceptable". 

Cllr Brian O'Donoghue said it was "absolutely not good enough" and he added: "I hope they're quick to allay fears that this won't happen."

Mr McInerney said he understood members concerns about the business case and the NTA needed to be reminded that they said the bus service was going ahead for five years and the Council will seek "reassurances on that". 

Cllr Fergal Browne proposed that the Council write to the NTA and ask them to attend a meeting of Carlow Municipal District as soon as possible - the proposal was passed by members.