Rural publicans want 'Drink -Link' tax incentives
Ross under fire for 'to Hell or to Connacht attitude'
Publicans have called for tax breaks to help boost rural transport services.
Last week Transport Minister Shane Ross announced details of a pilot rural transport service which will operate across 19 counties in Ireland from 6pm-11pm during the weekends in the summer months.
However, the plan, which has been labelled 'Drink-Link' has failed to take in any counties in Connacht.
Alan Gielty, owner of Gielty's Pub in Dooagh in Achill Island, Co Mayo and county chair of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), bought a Volkswagen transporter a number of years ago to carry his rural customers to and from the pub.
He claimed the failure of Minister Ross' plan to incorporate counties in the west is the same "hell or to Connacht attitude" the government has always had to the region, but doesn't think the plan would've been viable in the rural area anyway.
"We are disappointed that we are left out but I don't know how viable it would be in areas as isolated as north Mayo because it's a very scattered, catchment area. I'm sure a lot of buses wouldn't go down the narrow roads where some lads live because they wouldn't be able to get up there.
"It's the same hell or to Connacht attitude the government always has. If you look at the 2040 Plan there's no plans in there that include north Mayo," he said.
Instead of the 'drink-link' bus, Mr Gielty thinks pub owners should be offered a tax incentive to transport their rural customers to and from the pub.