88. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the inclusion of persons with disabilities on the boards of public transport companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17718/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Since becoming a Minister, I have been particularly struck by the personal experiences related to me in my meetings with people with disabilities who use public transport.

As a result of wide consultation with members of the disability community and with disability bodies striving to make an impact, I have decided that the State-owned public transport companies under the auspices of my Department should have at least one board member who has personal knowledge and experience of the needs and difficulties of people with disabilities using public transport.

At my request, the Public Appointments Service recently launched the application process for these positions and is inviting expressions of interest from the public for the boards of the Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and also the National Transport Authority. The closing date for applications was extended last week to 27th April. Details of the positions, the process, and how to apply are available on www.StateBoards.ie. I strongly encourage people with personal experience of the issues faced by people with disabilities on public transport to take a look at the website and to consider applying. We need the experience, skills and insight that they can bring to the work of these Boards.