“It's good news, there's been a lot of positive feedback to it. We're on the border of Laois Offaly and a lot of the older gentlemen said they would avail of the service to come in a have a chat here with the regulars on their pension day.”
Austin Dempsey of Dempsey's Pub in Cadamstown was giving his take on the new evening and night-time bus service which will operate in Kinnitty and surrounds taking in Clareen, Longford, Roscomore, Lackaroe, Cadamstown and Rath. The proposed operating evenings are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday on bank holiday weekends
“I got an email from the Town Link service a couple of weeks back telling me of their service during the weekdays, so I presume this is an extension to that, I'm not really sure. It runs along Rosenallis, Clonalsee, Cadamstown, Kinnitty, Kilcormac, Blueball, Mucklagh and Tullamore. I put up that information on our Facebook page to let people know about it and overall it has been received well.
"It's positive news for folks that are shut in otherwise,” continues Austin. “Of course you'll have the other side of too, those who believe it will start off well but then will slowly fizzle out, there's always the negative but I think every little helps,” says Austin who says it's becoming increasingly difficult for rural pubs like his to survive.
“Rural pubs are a dying breed. I think they will become just another tourist attraction in the next twenty years or so. I'm not going to become a millionaire out of it, but we'll keep going for as long as we can, so any positive news like this new bus service is bound to help and has to be welcomed.”
The service will be run by Local Link Laois Offaly, funded by the National Transport Authority, one of the 17 nationwide Local Link offices who coordinate this programme.
In 2017 Local Link carried over 75,000 passengers across Laois and Offaly for social, educational and medical needs, with a wide range in ages using our services. The scheduled services accept the free travel pass and the fares are minimal to encourage use of public transport.
The new service aims to reduce social isolation and allow rural dwellers access to social events like bingo, visiting neighbours or to the pub on a Friday and Saturday night and Sundays on the bank holidays. It is hoped when the initial three are operational, another three across routes across Laois and Offaly can be looked at pending funding.
“We are hoping for all services to commence mid-June and want to encourage the community to use it or we will lose it. It will be an onus on local business to promote and encourage the use in their areas to increase their business,” commented Frances Byrne, manager of Local Link Laois Offaly.
The local service will look after Kinnitty and surrounds taking in Clareen, Longford, Roscomore, Lackaroe, Cadamstown and Rath – proposed operating evenings, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday on bank holiday weekends
Local Link provides services in areas where no other public transport is operating and where an unmet or essential need can be identified. This is a pilot programme and each service will have different requirements whether that be minibuses, taxis or hackneys. Call 057 869 2168.