Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.50 14 Feb 2020


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A Cork woman has said the Government showed “complete and total indifference” when she warned that public transport services consistently left her stranded while she was battling cancer.

Mary Frances Douglas was diagnosed with breast cancer after moving to Youghal with her late-husband Gerard, who was also battling the disease.

On Newstalk Breakfast, she said they faced weekly appointments at Cork University Hospital throughout their treatment.

“We would pop down to the bus stop five minutes from our home [...] and wait and wait in cold freezing weather, with no shelter, and nine times out of ten the bus would sail past full,” she said.

Distressing

She said the bus sets out from Waterford and goes through Dungarvan before passing through Youghal.

“It is just so distressing,” she said. “First of all, we both felt ill. Secondly, we were distressed about being late and also  about missing our consultant’s appointment.

"I can’t tell you how often this happened.”

Ms Douglas said she began writing to a range of bodies, including Bus Éireann and the NTA, and was consistently told there was no funding to fix the problem.

After Gerard passed away last August she decided to take things further.

“Not for my sake but for all the other people,” she said. “The commuters and the shoppers and the students are all let standing - but it is particularly distressing if you are really ill and panicked about getting to your consultant on time.”

"Complete and total indifference"

Eventually, she got in contact with the Department of Transport.

“It was all going well, until I said, ‘what are you going to about it then?’ she said.

“'Can you not get around the table, with all the relevant parties, and re-allocate some funding for the south-east?'

“At that point, I was met with complete silence. There was no other email. No answer. That was it. I was met with passing the buck and passing the buck - and from the Department of Transport, complete and total indifference.”

Ms Douglas' cancer is now in remission; however, she said the entire experience has made her “very angry” and she now has no optimism that the authorities will address the issue.

“I have no hope whatsoever,” she said.

“Now that this has been highlighted and I have gone this far with it, I am going to approach a local TD.

“I believe the people of Youghal, especially as we no longer have a train line, deserve a dedicated bus service.”

"Customer demand"

In a statement, Bus Éireann said it is “aware of the high levels of customer demand” on the route and will “provide additional capacity where possible.”

“We wish to apologise to any customers impacted by this high level of customer demand which can occur at peak times,” it said.

It said it operates a second service between Ardmore, Youghal and Cork at peak times.

You can listen back to Ms Douglas's on Newstalk Breakfast here:


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Cancer Cork Cork University Hospital Mary Frances Douglas Public Transport

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