A VISION FOR CYCLING IN RURAL IRELAND – What the MEDIA Said

Over the summer members of Cyclist.ie, led by two women from Leitrim and West Cork, produced  A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland. The Vision is grounded in the evidence-based advocacy work of Cyclist.ie thanks to the input and guidance of its core members and created through the collaborative efforts of people from across the country. The purpose and contents of the Vision have already been posted here but we thought it worth collating the fantastic coverage of the launch of the Vision. 

Cyclist.ie appreciates the extensive media coverage of the Vision by Local and Community Radio Stations and by the Regional Press.  This coverage has been invaluable in spreading the word about the positive impact well-designed cycle networks,cycling infrastructure and other cycling initiatives can have in our communities.

The Vision was officially launched during National Bikeweek by Minister of State Malcolm Noonan who hails from Kilkenny and The Kilkenny People featured it prominently. 

The West Cork People 

West Cork People  spoke to Allison Roberts, Clonakilty Bike Circus, Katie Mann, CycleSense, Skibbereen and Lucia Finnegan, Bike Friendly Bandon, about their fun cycle events celebrating the Vision, and gave it major prominence. The Southern Star also covered the launch and included a superb photo.  

Two local papers in Kerry, Kerry’s Eye and  TraleeToday.ie covered the Vision.   quoting Anluan Dunne of Kerry Cycling Campaign, and Mayor of Kerry, Councillor Patrick O’ Connor-Scarteen who welcomed it warmly.  

 Further north, The Leitrim Observer  headlined its article, Leitrim Woman Leads National Vision for Cycling referring to Jo Sachs-Eldridge, rural dweller, bicycle user, transport planner and lead Rural Vision author!  The Sligo Weekender also covered the vision launch and aim

 Local radio stations too featured  spokespersons for the Cyclist.ie Rural Cycling Collective and gave them the opportunity to explain to listeners its background, aims and objectives.  Amongst these were Connemara Community Radio, Highland Radio Donegal, Radio Kerry, KCLR which covers Kilkenny and Carlow, Midwest Radio Mayo, Shannonside, Leitrim and Roscommon Tipp Fm and Tipperary Mid West Radio.  We found local radio to be a highly effective means of communicating with our target audience.  Many of the interviews lasted between ten and fifteen minutes so there was time to tease out ideas and expand on points without interruption, and interviewers appeared to be genuinely interested in what the Vision could mean for our communities.     

On Friday last, December 4th The Department of Transport announced that a sum of €50 Million Euro was being made available to Local Authorities to provide walking and cycling infrastructure for towns and villages outside of the Greater Dublin Area..  The Rural Collective welcomes this announcement, particularly the positive language of the Press Release from Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan. “Local authority applicants should identify convenient and direct routes for active travel modes, including, and where necessary, aim to reallocate space from motor traffic and car parking. Funded projects should be accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities.”  This language augurs well for the future of cycling outside of the big urban conurbations as well as within them. 

Media exposure and the sending of copies of the Vision to Local Authority Chief Executives and Directors of Services for Transport  have helped to spread the Rural Vision message.  Already we have had positive feedback and queries from senior personnel in a number of Local Authorities.  Members of Cyclist.ie are happy to work collaboratively with our local authorities to realise the key points of the Rural Vision.  It is heartening that already some L/A’s have been in touch with member organisations. We look forward to seeing what these conversations will lead to as the unstoppable tidal wave continues to rise across rural Ireland.