The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, has today delivered on his personal commitment to ensure that each public transport board includes at least one director with direct personal experience of disability.
Upon taking office, Minister Ross made clear that one of his priorities would be to ensure that the voices of people with a disability would be heard at the top of those bodies responsible for the provision of public transport.
Minister Ross said: “Since becoming Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have heard at first hand the accounts of people with disabilities as they explained the difficulties they encounter on a daily basis in accessing public transport.
I decided that no matter how well intentioned able-bodied directors or politicians may be in seeking to remedy these difficulties, ultimately their efforts would be no substitute for the voices of people with disabilities themselves being heard in the boardroom.
For too long, people with disabilities have been restricted to expressing their views and needs in the media. From today, those voices will be heard at the very top of the State boards overseeing the provision of our country’s public transport system.”
At the Minister’s request, directors’ positions were advertised by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) earlier this year, specifically seeking suitably qualified candidates with personal experience of disability.
Following shortlisting of candidates by PAS and a further assessment process, including interviews, within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the list of successful candidates was submitted to the Minister for his consideration and appointment.
Minister Ross is now delighted to announce that he has appointed four outstanding candidates to the boards of the National Transport Authority, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail. A fifth is to be appointed to the board of CIÉ, subject to the approval of the Government.
Each of the newly appointed directors brings with them not only direct personal experience of the challenges facing people with disability in accessing public transport, but also a range of professional skills and management experience that qualify them to contribute to the improvement of transport services for all users.
Newly appointed directors
Diarmuid Corry – Bus Éireann
Electronic engineer, MBA, and currently an independent consultant and business adviser. Co-founder of aerospace company, Acra Control, which was acquired by US-listed company Curtiss-Wright Corporation in 2011.
Liam O’Rourke – CIÉ (subject to Cabinet approval)
Certified public accountant. Finance manager with the Irish Wheelchair Association. Formerly financial controller/director with US multinational, Champion Sparks Plugs Company and other US companies for over 30 years.
Kevin Kelly – National Transport Authority
MA in Public Affairs and Political Communications. Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, National Council for the Blind of Ireland. Formerly Advocacy and Communications Manager, Asthma Society of Ireland. Member of the Disability Stakeholders Group monitoring implementation of the Disability Inclusion Strategy and the Comprehensive Employment Strategy. Former parliamentary assistant to Senator Mary Ann O’Brien and researcher/broadcast assistant with Newstalk 106-108 FM.
Suzy Byrne – Irish Rail
Regional Manager in National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities. Co-chair, Disabled People of Ireland. BA in Sociology and Social Policy. Writer and broadcaster.
Elaine Howley – Dublin Bus
Member of the Disability Federation of Ireland and the Disability Stakeholders Group monitoring implementation of the Disability Inclusion Strategy and the Comprehensive Employment Strategy. Formerly Director of Policy and Advocacy and Director of Services, National Council for the Blind of Ireland. Diploma in Company Direction, Institute of Directors.