On the 1st April 2011 Minister for State Alan Kelly, Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport officially opened the National Meeting of the Rural Transport Network in Portlaoise. Minister Kelly outlined that he was delighted to be there and that the event was his first official engagement in his new position. Minister Kelly outlined the value of the Rural Transport Programme and his familiarity with the initiative on the ground having previously travelled on services. Minister Kelly commended the Network on their strategy – Sustainable Rural Transport 2011-2016.
Newly elected T.D. for Laois Offaly, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy also attended the meeting. As chairperson of the West Offaly Rural Transport company she addressed the meeting, and spoke of her “deep affinity” for the rural transport programme.She gave a commitment of continued support to her local company and the national programme.
Minister for State Alan Kelly, Jack Roche, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D.
This meeting was well attended and the day focused on the future direction of Rural Transport in Ireland. Jack Roche, Chairperson of the Network welcomed the Minister and thanked him for taking the time to attend and for his support. Mr. Roche said it was now time to turn “joined up thinking into joined up practice” and outlined that those present were the practitioners on the ground who had supported the development of community transport in Ireland. Mr Roche outlined that the initiative’s success was based on a bottom up approach and that the Network are available and will support the Minister and the Department of Transport in building on the success of the programme to date.