Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley raised the need for a local bus service for Portlaoise Town in the Dáil recently.
The improvement of local bus services is included in the programme for Government – and Deputy Stanley wants to see Portlaoise included.
Speaking in the Dail this week, he said: “The plan has been put together, the research has been done by the local authority, the route has been designed and the location of bus stops has been decided.
“The Government needs to now hand this over to the local authorities.
“This is with the National Transport Authority and it is a pain trying to get anywhere with the NTA.
“We should not be contacting the NTA in Dublin about issues like this. The Government should trust the local authorities, their staff and members.
“They are grown-ups and the Government should devolve that power to them.
“Portlaoise is a growing town over 7km across. It has a population of 25,000, far bigger than the city of Kilkenny.
“The centre of the town is choked up with cars regularly. It is a low-carbon town. We need a local bus service to action that low-carbon town plan.
“There are households on the outskirts of Portlaoise that are 4km or 5km from the centre. Pensioners have to find their way into town to draw pensions every Friday.
“I ask the Government to raise this with the NTA, to take a hands-on approach.”
In response, Taoiseach Micheal Martin encouraged Laois County Council to engage with the NTA on the matter.
He said: “What is crucial right now is the interaction between the local authority and the NTA.
“A proper relationship should exist to facilitate the issues the Deputy has raised.
“In some situations, it works well and in others maybe not so well.”
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