The bus stop on Castle Street, Mullingar.

Castle Street bus stop returns

The removal of the Bus Éireann bus stop at Castle Street has been reversed, and buses on the Athlone to Mullingar bus route will be able to halt there again from the second week in December.

The route offers a service twice daily, six days a week, and while it is popular among older generations living along the route, it is also key transport infrastructure for students attending AIT.

Following the removal of the stop in late October, passengers had to make their way to the train station to avail of services.

Fianna Fáil Minister of State Robert Troy has thanked management at Bus Éireann for moving quickly to reinstate the stop.

“Cllr Vinny McCormack and I were made aware of this issue in recent weeks by regular users of the service,” said Minister Troy, stating that the Castle Street stop has been hugely popular with service users for many years due to its close proximity to many shops in the town.

The minister added that the fact that passengers had to get to the railway station was “not an ideal scenario” as there are many elderly passengers using this service regularly.

“We simply could not expect these people to strangle themselves carrying bags of shopping the length of the town,” he said.

Minister Troy said that on being made aware of the issue, he immediately raised it with Bus Éireann management.

“I am delighted to have received an update last weekend that the stop will be re-instated from the second week in December. I believe this is a sensible decision from Bus Éireann which I am sure will be welcomed by all of the regular users on this very popular service,” he stated.

Cllr Vinny McCormack said he was “extremely pleased” that the stop has been reinstated. “I know many people from Ballymore, Killare, Loughnavalley and Ballinea who do not drive, and who rely on this bus service to do their grocery shopping. All of these people will be hugely relieved that the bus will once again collect from Castle Street,” he said.

Minister Troy stated that while he understood that Bus Éireann would regularly look for ways to make many routes more efficient he felt strongly that this can never be at the expense of transport options for elderly or vulnerable service users.

“The Local Link service here in Westmeath works extremely hard to provide transport and social outlets for elderly people right across the county and we must ensure that Bus Éireann continues to provide a proper community service across its entire network,” concluded Minister Troy.