People with experience of disability appointed to public transport boards

Transport Minister Shane Ross described it as a "radical departure in the history of state board appointments"

People with experience of disability appointed to public transport boards

Shane Ross (centre) with new public transport board members (l to r) Liam O'Rourke, Kevin Kelly, Elaine Howley and Suzy Byrne. Image: Gail Conway

People with disabilities are being given the power to help make public transport easier to use.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has appointed four people with personal experience of disability to public transport boards.

It comes following a public appointments process earlier this year.

Those being appointed are also said to have "professional skills and management experience" to qualify them for their new roles.

The newly-appointed directors are Diarmuid Corry at Bus Éireann; Kevin Kelly at National Transport Authority; Suzy Byrne at Irish Rail; and Elaine Howley at Dublin Bus.

Liam O'Rourke has also been named for the CIÉ board, subject to Cabinet approval.

Image: Gail Conway

Minister Ross explained: "This is a fairly radical departure in the history of state board appointments.

"Whereas all these people are supremely well-qualified for taking these appointments, they also have one additional requisite - and that is that they should all have personal experience of disability issues."

The new board members are aiming to ensure it's as easy for people with disabilities to board public transport as it is for able-bodied people.

Suzy Byrne explained that travel can currently be restrictive for anyone experiencing disability.

She observed: "You need to give four hours notice if you wish to take a DART; you need to to give 24 hours if you're going to take an InterCity train at some of the smaller stations.

"In terms of Bus Éireann, you need to give 48 hours notice if you're going to take a Bus Éireann Bus."

She added: "We can't plan to go out with our friends. I don't even mean plan... you just can't decide at the drop of a hat, like anybody else, that you're going to go somewhere for the day."