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European Investment Bank funds should be utilised to improve public transport in commuter belt areas – Carberry

28th May 2024 - Fine Gael Press Office

The European Investment Bank (EIB) should prioritise funds for commuter transport projects, not just large scale urban developments, a Fine Gael European elections candidate has said.

Nina Carberry, Fine Gael’s European election candidate for Midlands North-West, said that achieving balanced regional development in Ireland and across Europe hinges on efficient commuter public transport services.

She said: “I live in a commuter belt area myself and while I appreciate its proximity to the city, there are challenges around traffic, whether it’s at peak times in the mornings and evenings, dropping children to school or activities, or for workers who need to travel to larger urban centres to get to work.

“Furthermore, in some more remote areas, accessing essential services like healthcare, education or childcare can be problematic. Over time, the strain of commuting for hours every day impacts on people’s quality of life and work-life balance. Many people would choose to use public transport more if they were guaranteed a regular and reliable service. Unfortunately, this is sorely lacking in many of our commuter towns and villages.

“Better connected rail services, quality roads and a more regular integrated bus service is what people want and have been discussing with me over the past number of weeks during my campaign. Last week, Cabinet approved the extension of the overhead electric wires on the DART system to go to Drogheda as part of the DART= Coastal North Project. This will be good news for commuters in Louth, but we need to see an awful lot more than this to give commuter belt residents the same transport options are their urban counterparts.

“The European Investment Bank provides economic support to sectors that contribute significantly to growth, employment, regional cohesion and environmental sustainability in Europe. It supports projects, including transport projects, that make life in urban areas more sustainable.

“It’s high time that commuter belt areas were brought into the mix for EIB funding. With environmental sustainability firmly on the agenda for this and all future generations, there has never been a greater or more urgent need for an energy efficient public transport system that would eliminate lengthy commuter times and carbon emissions. This is something I’ll be prioritising if elected to the European Parliament on June 7th. Ireland needs to be accessing funding for vital transportation projects that will connect our communities more, for this and future generations.”

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