Government to set up Tralee bus service for Ukrainian refugees in Earl of Desmond
TRANSPORT Minister Eamon Ryan said the government was working to establish a new bus link to help Ukrainian refugees staying at the Earl of Desmond Hotel get in and out of Tralee town centre.
About 350 Ukrainian refugees are staying at the hotel, but the lack of public transport has made it difficult for many to access state services and find employment.
Many local taxi and minibus drivers provided free transport for the refugees – and the hotel arranged its own transport – but this fell far short of meeting demand.
In the Dáil last week, Dublin Labor Party leader Duncan Smith asked the Green Party leader what his department was doing to provide free public transport to refugees arriving in Ireland from Ukraine.
Minister Ryan said additional bus services needed to be put in place to meet the needs of people housed away from the existing public transport network and specifically referred to the situation in Tralee as an example of what the government.
“The National Transport Authority (NTA) is looking at options to provide transport from the Earl of Desmond Hotel, where many of the refugees have been housed, to the town of Tralee,” he said.
“Such measures will provide better access to a range of amenities, employment opportunities and public transit connections to major centres,” said Minister Ryan.
Mr Ryan said a community transport fund was also being set up to support occasional refugee travel requests.
This will be operated by the offices of Transport for Ireland, TFI and Local Link.
“It will allow our Ukrainian hosts to participate in the many activities available in our cities, including activities focused on youth, integration, culture and education,” said Minister Ryan.
“Collectively, these efforts aim to support the integration of our Ukrainian guests into the local communities that host them. We will keep the issue of transportation supply under review as this situation evolves.”