A Roscommon-Galway TD has slammed the government for being ‘anti-rural’ and called on the Taoiseach to instruct his colleagues to solve the ongoing school bus transport crisis.
In a barrage of insults and criticism directed at the Fine Gael-led government, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said we are being governed by a ‘posh-boy administration’ and the most ‘anti-rural’ in the State’s history.
It’s no secret that on the eve of a new school term we are in the midst of transport crisis.
It has been reported that over 30,000 children have applied for ‘concessionary’ tickets, but so far the department has only issued 24,000.
As a result, the anxieties of thousands of parents around the country have been stoked as they face the possibility that their child will miss out on a place on the school bus for the upcoming year.
This would be a particular problem for those in rural areas who rely heavily on public transport to get their child to school every morning.
Speaking on this matter, the Roscommon Galway TD accused the current government as being “the most anti-rural administration in the history of the state”.
The Roscommon-Galway representative views the “inability to find €4 million to sort out the transport needs of rural schoolchildren” as being yet another example of the current government’s anti-rural characteristics.
The former Independent Alliance member, who left the group over his refusal to join the government, alleged that the current government is determined to “drive rural people off the land”.
“This Government has billions and billions available for LUAS lines, imaginary Metro’s, DARTS, bicycle lanes and buses for Dublin. Yet, they cannot afford a few buses for schoolchildren,” he said.
Fitzmaurice referenced the 1980s when he was attending school and claimed that even though the country was broke, “the school bus was a feature of every road and boreen in rural Ireland.”
He claimed that the “current cut-backs are an utter betrayal of the legacy of Donagh O’Malley, who started the school-bus system to accompany free second level schooling.”
Fitzmaurice then slammed the government as being a “posh boy administration” due to the fact they can “find €90 million for private schools, but can’t find €4 million for working and farming people.”
The Independent TD said that it was a scandal that “30,000 students lose out on school bus places because of Paschal Donohoe’s penny-pinching”.
“This is a penny-wise pound-foolish approach that will clog our roads with cars and add further pressure to the lives of hard-working people who will have to get up even earlier to go to work.”
The TD claimed that this sends a “clear signal” over how ordinary working people will be treated under the “posh boys” if Brexit goes bad.
“It is time now for Mr Varadkar to put a political clamp on Paschal Donohoe’s latest attack on rural people,” he added.