Saturday 21 April 2018

Real benefits of our free travel

Sir - Not for the first time there are calls for those in possession of the free travel pass to be charged an annual fee for the privilege or for the scheme to be scrapped. Indeed, last week an employee of Bus Eireann speaking on the RTE Liveline programme suggested that the free travel pass was a significant cause of Bus Eireann's financial woes.

I do not believe that there is evidence to support such a claim but I do believe that Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Iarnrod Eireann are not sufficiently recompensed by the State for carrying passengers under the free travel scheme. Everyone, not just those currently in receipt of the free travel pass, should oppose any negative encroachment into the scheme. After all, today's funders of the project will be tomorrow's recipients of free travel.

The travel pass is not just a free trip on our transport network for pensioners but a social initiative that bestows a significant degree of freedom and independence on the elderly.

Although I am most grateful to those whose taxes afford me this privilege, I resent the level of hostility heaped on the elderly by those who suggest we are a financial burden on, and general nuisance to, society. We are referred to as last-time buyers in the housing market and endure calls to downsize to free up housing for young families. Setting the generations against each other is unhelpful. What next? Perhaps a nudge to try and engineer our passing to coincide with the fortnightly brown bin collection to ease the burden of assisted funeral costs on the state?

Tom Cooper,


Dublin 6W

Sir - Congratulations to Patrick Geoghegan and Liam Collins (Sunday Independent, January 22) on their excellent articles on master historian and wise man Ronan Fanning, and you for reprinting his 2002 article on genius sportsman Roy Keane.

We all remember the event well and felt so sad and angry at the treatment of Roy and "The Sheep" who stood by while the "Great" McCarthy backed Roy into a corner in the presence of his team mates.

At the time I remember a wise and crying child asking me if they left Roy all alone in the hotel and looking up at me saying "how could they be so cruel?"

Indeed, how could they?

I hope the know-alls read this article and think that maybe they were wrong. However I doubt it as they do not take criticism well.

Marie O Sullivan,

Co Kerry

Sunday Independent

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