As I explained to the Deputy in reply to her identical Question on 16 September 2021 (Ref No 44129/21) as Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.
It is the National Transport Authority (NTA) which has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally, as well as the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network. The NTA also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which operates under the TFI Local Link brand.
That is why I referred the Deputy's Question of 16 September 2021 to the NTA for direct reply. I understand that the NTA replied directly to the Deputy on 22 September 2021.
In terms of new public transport services in rural areas, including Local Link services, I refer the Deputy to my reply earlier today to Question (Ref 52455/21) in which I outlined the NTA's proposals in its Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan.
Connecting Ireland will significantly increase both the number of routes and the frequency of existing services right across the country. Hundreds of rural villages and areas will for the first time be served by a viable public transport link.
I joined the NTA to launch its Connecting Ireland consultation on 29 October 2021. I would urge everyone to review the NTA's proposals for their area and give their feedback to the NTA to guide the implementation of Connecting Ireland.