Transport Minister Shane Ross says the new appointments will bring unrivaled experience to the boards

People with disabilities are being given the power to make public transport easier to use.

The Transport Minister Shane Ross has appointed four people with experience of disabilities to each public transport board.

The newly-appointed directors are Diarmuid Corry at Bus Éireann; Kevin Kelly at National Transport Authority; Suzy Byrne at Irish Rail; and Elaine Howley at Dublin Bus.

Liam O'Rourke has also been chosen for the CIÉ board, subject to Cabinet approval.

Shane Ross (centre) with new public transport board members (l to r) Liam O'Rourke, Kevin Kelly, Elaine Howley and Suzy Byrne. Image: Gail Conway

Shane Ross called it a "fairly radical departure" for state board appointments.

The new board members are qualified professionals, and Minister Ross says it's an added value that they are also advocates for people with disabilities.

He observed: "Whereas all these people are supremely well-qualified for taking these appointments, they also have one additional requisite - and that is that they should all have personal experience of disability issues."

Suzy Byrne, meanwhile, highlighted some of the issues that individuals experiencing a disability can currently face.

She said: "You need to give four hours notice if you wish to take a DART; you need to to give 24 hours if you're going to take an InterCity train at some of the smaller stations.

"In terms of Bus Éireann, you need to give 48 hours notice if you're going to take a Bus Éireann Bus."

She added: "We can't plan to go out with our friends. I don't even mean plan... you just can't decide at the drop of a hat, like anybody else, that you're going to go somewhere for the day."