By Paul O’Malley
Councillors in Mayo have said support measures introduced to assist Mayo’s night-time economy need to go hand-in-hand with improvements to the transport system, especially in rural areas.
Sixteen successful applicants for a €4m government-funded scheme to assist off-peak entertainment in towns across Mayo were announced over the weekend.
Fine Gael Cllr Jarlath Munnelly welcomed the announcement but told thethere is a need for services that serve rural areas at night-time.
“Anything that supports businesses in the night-time economy to get back to capacity is welcome but we really need to, in parallel, address rural transport at night. There is a need for scheduled services that serve rural areas, to allow people both young and old in rural areas who both support and work in the night-time economy to get about,” he said. “Twelve months ago, the Government, under the Connecting Ireland programme, unveiled timetables for potential new transport routes in rural areas — that was a good move, but these new routes need to become a reality and need to operate at evenings and night, particularly at weekends.”
The cathaoirleach of Mayo Co Council, Independent Cllr Seamus Weir, who raised the issue of night-time transport at a meeting of the Ballina Municipal District in June, said that transport needs to go hand-in-hand with these support measures.
“The idea is great but you need back-up services from taxi companies. I would hope it encourages taxi service providers and they feel there is business out there for them if this took off. There might be a chance there for taxi companies to engage with the system.”
The successful applicants were Cupán Ceoil, Belleek Castle, Tarbh 47, Time Square Late Night Venue, Great National Hotel and An Bolg Bui (all Ballina), Cosy Joe’s, The Porter House, Tertulia, Castle Late Night Venue, The Yoga Root, An File and The Mariner (all Westport), Irish House Bar, Castlebar, The Acres in Killala and Balla Community Resources.