A Clare Dáil Deputy has called for greater priority be given to accessibility in awarding Government contracts for rural transport services.
Independent T.D. Michael McNamara made the request to Anne Rabbitte, Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth with responsibility for Disability, in a meeting hosted by Clare Leader Forum this week.
“I informed the Minister that since the tender process was carried out for nine local transport routes in Clare, some of the vehicles providing the service are not accessible while some vehicles acquired by Clare Accessible Transport through fundraising and exchequer funding lie idle,” he explained.
Deputy McNamara continued, “The current tendering criteria appear to be about saving money from one state budget line without having any regard for the impact on individuals, rural communities or even the wider implications for the exchequer. While the Minister and her Department are making some progress, we seem to be moving backwards in some areas, notably ensuring universal access to rural transport services.”
“I requested Minister Rabbitte to intervene on the matter with the NTA to ensure greater weighting be given to accessibility in future tender processes,” he concluded.