Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín says that, as Minister for Transport in next Cabinet, he would immediately address the “daily nightmare” of commuting for families.
“Family life is becoming impossible as parents are forced to leave their homes before dawn and are returning after their children are in bed. They’re saying to me that they feel its a “daily nightmare”, three or more hours on the road every day that they will never get back. They say time is being stolen from them and from their children,” An Teachta Tóibín said.
“In fact, we’ve seen a young woman from Meath saying on national television that she felt she wouldn’t be able to have children or raise a family in Ireland because the commute to work is so time-consuming and draining. That is shameful – there is no quality of life for people in these circumstances.”
The Aontú leader said that his party would seek to form part of a new government and that as Transport Minister, he will prioritise radical reform of transport throughout Ireland. An Teachta Tóibín, who is Chair of the Meath on Track campaign group, has been pushing for a rail line from Meath to Dublin and says that people cannot wait any longer for what he described as an essential service.
“The road to Navan is a car park every morning and evening,” he said. “I sit in it myself most days, I totally understand the enormous frustration and the sense that this cannot continue.”
“The current approach to transport overseen by Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil has horrific family, social and financial costs to hundreds of thousands of people and their families. It is an indictment of their time in power that hundreds of thousands of people remain stuck in traffic jams for hours every day as they commute to Dublin. Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil’s lack of strategy and solutions to Ireland’s transport chaos points towards their desire to simply normalise the abnormal, to normalise congestion, delays and insufficient investment in public transport.”
“Let me be very clear: it’s not normal or acceptable for families to spend 15 or 20 hours every week just getting to-and-from work. It needs to be tackled now,” he said.
An Teachta Tóibín has committed to prioritising transport reform and rectifying the current unsustainable and costly approach to transport and planning.
The Meath West TD said that Meath had been completely neglected in terms of transport and had been waiting for a rail line to Dublin for far too long. “In Meath, we are still waiting for a rail line to Dublin. It is ridiculous that despite the benefits to the environment, public health, quality of life and travel times that would be created by a rail line for Meath, Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil have taken no action to make such a rail line a reality.!”
“We need to get Meath on track,” he said, “but we also need to prioritise the construction of rail lines throughout the country. It is astounding that successive governments have allowed the decline of Irish rail infrastructure. We must turn that trend around now. I am committed to making sure that Ireland has a structured, joined-up approach to transport that puts an end to daily commuter chaos.”
“To achieve our objectives we will seek a seat at the cabinet table to be in charge of Ireland’s transport future. We will prioritise investment in public transport and radical reductions in the cost of using public transport. I see transport as a quality of life issue. Aontú will ensure that public transport is a real and attractive option for commuters.