Accessibility should be a key criteria for rural transport tenders – McNamara

Clare Independent T.D. Michael McNamara has requested the Government to ensure that accessibility is listed as one of the primary criteria in future contracts being tendered in relation to rural transport services.

Deputy 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 told 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 through fundraising and exchequer funding lay idle,” he explained. “I informed the Minister that there currently is inadequate weighting afforded to accessibility in the NTA’s existing tendering process for transport contracts.”

Deputy McNamara continued, “The current tendering criteria appear to 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 as we are seeing a delay in delivering universal access in rural transport services.”

“I requested Minister Rabbitte to intervene on the matter with the NTA and stressed the need for greater weighting to be given to accessibility in tender criteria,” he concluded.