She has been lionised in the media all weekend, but new Labour Party leader Joan Burton has shown herself to be as callous as any Minister that has ever served in Cabinet.
As Minister for Social Welfare, Burton has categorically rejected the extension of the free bus pass to McGonagle’s who have operated the Buncrana-Derry bus route since the collapse of the Lough Swilly Bus Company in April.
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn tabled a question in the Dáil on Tuesday, asking if Bruton’s Department of Social Welfare would immediately allocate funding to support reinstate the free travel pass for elderly and disabled users.
Squeezing out a crocodile tear, Burton said she ‘appreciated the importance’ of free travel to pensioners and knew the problems that have arisen since the closure of the Swilly.
Alas, she continued, the Department has had to impose a complete restriction on the admittance of new companies – such as McGonagle’s – to the scheme, even if the company has taken over an existing route.
The term ‘has had’ is interesting. It suggests that this is somehow forced onto her.
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