Pub owner brands LIFT scheme a stunt

Minister of State Brendan Griffin at the wheel of the LIFT vehicle with his parliamentary assistant Tommy Griffin

JUNIOR Minister Brendan Griffin’s promotion of a pilot scheme called LIFT, providing a free transport service to help tackle rural isolation, is nothing more than a political stunt that will probably cease operation by the end of May, a neighbouring political opponent has charged.

The Local Individually Flexible Transport (LIFT) service is being trialled in the parishes of Keel and Castlemaine with a volunteer driver, in a car donated to the community, operating a not-for-profit transport service for all who need it, five nights a week.

Minister Griffin said if successful, the scheme which is currently operating in the Keel and Castlemaine areas, could be rolled out nationwide.

Cllr Michael D O’Shea: Not impressed

But Cllr Michael D O’Shea, who owns a public house in Milltown, said publicans in Kerry have provided such a service for years.

“Surely irony will not be lost on anyone that Minister Griffin is a minister in the same department which contributed more to rural isolation than any other agency in the history of the state,” he said.

“Minister Griffin and Minister Shane Ross are in charge of the department which is directly responsible for the new draconian drink driving law. This is the same law which has imprisoned the vulnerable and the elderly in their own homes,” the Fianna Fail councillor stated.

The free transport service is provided from Sunday to Thursday but the Keel/Castlemaine LIFT does not operate on Friday and Saturday to avoid displacement of available services.

It is a free, fully-insured volunteer operated not-for-profit service and it is aimed as tackling rural isolation and related social issues.

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