The protest against the bus service cuts to Dromod and Rooskey is hitting the road to bring the message “We want our service back” to the Government.
Last Friday, November 2 sixteen locals travelled to Ballaghaderreen to protest at the site of the sod turning of a new bypass by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar. Larry O’Connor from the Rooskey Bus Action Group said they brought placards reading “Bypass = No bus.” He said they wanted to make the Minister feel “awkward.” But he said he felt the people of Ballaghaderreen should know that the arrival of a bypass could mean an end to public transport through the town.
Minister Varadkar met with Larry O’Connor and Eddie Frayne from the Action group and according to Mr O’Connor the Minister admitted that the “Government issues the mandate to Bus Eireann.” It was made clear to Leo Varadkar and Deputy Frank Feighan that “we want our service back and we will not give up until we get it.”
The action group are organising a protest at Dail Eireann on November 14 where they will hand in a petition of over 1,500 signatures against the sudden bus service cuts to both villages. A 33 seater mini bus will carry those with mobility issues while others can travel to Dublin via the temporary bus service which goes through Rooskey at 7.30am.
The group are seeking plenty of numbers to help bring their case to the Government. The petition will be given to Independent Luke Flanagan and Denis Naughten who will hand in the signatures to the Minister for Transport.
The Rooskey Bus Action group said they have had great support from both TDs as well as support from local councillors in Leitrim and Roscommon.
However Mr O’Connor said they are still unhappy with Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan who said he is looking at “alternatives for Dromod and Rooskey.” He said the people of Dromod and Rooskey are accepting “no alternatives” to their bus service. The Rooskey group are also seeking an apology from Deputy Feighan for reading out a member’s phone number on local radio recently without any permission to do so.
“We are not going to let this go,” Larry O’Connor told the paper. He said there is “no saving” in the bus cuts and it “defies logic.”
Mr O’Connor said that seeing a u-turn on Elphin should help their case.
The group have also noted that these two protests “are only the beginning” as they are planning other events in the near future.