Writes Ciaran Dineen
After many years of hard lobbying, it was announced today that a bus service connecting Ringaskiddy, Carrigaline, Ballygarvan and Cork Airport will commence at the beginning of November.
The route, given the number 225, will operate on a 30 minute frequency during the week, with timetables now available on the Bus Eireann website. The first bus will leave Haulbowline at 6am on Sunday 3rd November, where it will travel through Ringaskiddy to Carrigaline via Coolmore Cross. Upon reaching Carrigaline the 225 will head onto Church Road, then Ferney Road, before stopping at the Bridge. It will then proceed through the village and will turn left at Ashgrove Roundabout, towards Ballinrea Cross. It will stop off in Ballygarvan village before proceeding on to Cork Airport. The nature of the route means that any students who may end up in the new three-school campus on Ballinrea Road will have a direct bus link when the schools open.
There was also some great news for the people of Passage West, who will now be able to avail of the 216 bus route. The 216 travels from Mount Oval to Cork University Hospital but will now see its service extended to Monkstown, effectively tripling the frequency in the area. The 223 service, which was recently reported as having the most complaints in the County, will continue to operate according to its normal timetable. This has been a major issue for the people in Passage for many years now and while a link with Carrigaline has not yet come to fruition, this is a major step forward for the parish.
This process all kicked off in February 2018, when local Councillors put forward their frustrations on transport infrastructure in the area to Bus Eireann Regional Manager, Martin Walsh. In particular Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind), Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) and Cllr Aidan Lombard (FG) have constantly battled for change and after a long and at times weary process, they are receiving the rewards for their representation.
Speaking on the announcement, Cllr Aidan Lombard said, “Over two years ago I started the conversation about the fact that Ballygarvan had no Bus service. Initially the feedback from Bus Eireann was negative but after engaging with them over the time, they became more positive to the route. I am truly delighted the route is now starting on the 3rd of November and think is well over due for the people of Ballygarvan. There has been many missed dates over the last year as the engineering issues on the route needed to be resolved particularly the stop selection but thankfully that is now all resolved. This is something I personally am very proud to be involved with from the beginning and look forward to seeing it started.
Councillor Seamus McGrath (FF), immediately reacted to the news upon the announcement saying, “we have been seeking an improved bus service for some time between these areas and the update from Bus Eireann is very welcome. Direct connectivity between Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline as well as Ballygarvan represents great progress. The improved frequency for Passage West and Monkstown has been a long battle, but thankfully the introduction of the 216 service will significantly improve it.”
An Tanaiste Simon Coveney was also thrilled with the positive news and responded by saying, “my team, including Cllr Aidan Lombard have worked very hard to prioritise the issue of buses in the wider Carrigaline area and I am delighted at this positive news today. I understand this has been a frustrating wait, especially for the people of Ballygarvan who have been without a bus service for a number of years, I and Councillor Aidan Lombard have worked hard to rectify the matter.”
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