Shane Ross says BusConnects has nothing to do with him
Minister for Transport indicates at constituency meeting he will object to aspects of plan
Minister for Transport Shane Ross indicated he would be making his own submission to the ongoing public consultation on the BusConnects project and objecting to some aspects of it. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Minister for Transport Shane Ross told a residents’ association meeting in his constituency on Wednesday evening he had nothing to do with the BusConnects plan and had no responsibility for the National Transport Authority, according to people present.
Mr Ross also indicated that he would be making his own submission to the ongoing public consultation on the plan and objecting to some aspects of it.
According to one person present, when he saw a proposed route map for the Bus Connects plan at the meeting, he told attendees: “Don’t mind this map.”
The Bus Connects scheme involves changes to bus routes into Dublin city, and a €2 billion investment in the network. However, elements of the plan have caused controversy, as it involves the withdrawal of some bus routes to the city centre.
Mr Ross was speaking at the agm of the Nutgrove Loreto Community Association, in the Rathfarnham-Churchtown area of his constituency.
Earlier that day, Mr Ross had defended the plan in the Dáil. “There are always significant concerns when something as major as this happens . . . However, the changes are necessary and people will come to accept them because they will get them from one place to another much more quickly.”
Mr Ross said he understood there were difficulties with the plan and said there would be “some adjustments made to it” on foot of public consultations.
However, he also criticised the Opposition for a Dáil motion that opposed the plan.
“Today, we also have the language of condemnation from members of the Opposition,” Mr Ross said.
“They should get their act together and decide which side they are on. They cannot be on both sides on this one. I know it is difficult. “
Green TD Catherine Martin, who was present at the meeting, said Mr Ross’s comments were “quite extraordinary”.
“Rather than washing his hands he should ensure that that the new routes improve the quality of life for the daily commuter,” she said.
Fianna Fáil councillor Shay Brennan, who was also present, said that he was “surprised to hear that the Minister is making a submission on his own policy”.
‘An absolute disgrace’
“I presume he’s doing so as a local representative and not as Minister,” Mr Brennan added.
Green leader Éamon Ryan said: “It’s an absolute disgrace and shows a complete lack of leadership in transport.”
“The Minister is making a submission, when he should be running policy. No wonder we’re in transport gridlock.”
Mr Ross will be relaying his constituents’ concerns about certain aspects of the Bus Connects Project – as he is encouraging all other TDs to do during the public consultation process, a spokeswoman for the minister said.