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Ross accused of trying to 'duck responsibility' for BusConnects plan

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Shane Ross is under fire

Shane Ross is under fire

Shane Ross is under fire

Transport Minister Shane Ross has been accused of seeking to "duck responsibility" for the controversial overhaul of bus routes in the capital.

Mr Ross is under fire over the BusConnects plan, amid claims that he sought to distance himself from the project at a residents' association meeting in his Dublin Rathdown constituency.

During the week he faced pressure in the Dail when Fianna Fail tabled a motion calling for the protection of Dublin Bus services.

Fine Gael TDs also raised serious concerns over the BusConnects plan at a private party meeting on Wednesday night, with fears it could become as politically dangerous as the water charges fiasco.

Communities around the city have expressed concern at proposed changes to routes serving their neighbourhoods under the plan overseen by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

The public consultation period ends on September 28.

It has been reported that Mr Ross told a residents' meeting in his constituency that he had nothing to do with the BusConnects plan, prompting a wave of criticism of the minister.

Asleep

Fianna Fail's Dublin spokesman John Lahart said "the mind boggles", adding that the plan is in the Government's Project Ireland 2040 initiative.

"He's the transport minister, isn't he?," asked Mr Lahart.

His party colleague Robert Troy said the NTA was answerable to Mr Ross but claimed that, "when backed into a corner in his own backyard he tries to duck responsibility".

Labour Party senator Kevin Humphreys claimed Mr Ross was "asleep at the wheel on BusConnects".

Mr Ross told RTE Radio that he had told residents at the meeting that he does make Government policy on BusConnects and transport, but he does not "micro-manage" the details, such as the routes proposed on a map on display that night.

Mr Ross last night declined to respond to opposition attacks on him, saying the BusConnects issue is "above politics".

"The important thing is that people participate in the public consultation process in order to change the parts of this BusConnects proposal which are a problem for the elderly, children going to school and students going to university," Mr Ross told the Herald.

"The map was not drawn by me but by the NTA. I have no intention of micro-managing the process.

"It's a good project but there are problems for communities that need to be ironed out."

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has called on the NTA to extend the public consultation period for the project.


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