Category Archives: Irish Posts

Cork Council gives go ahead for plans for Greenway route

A Greenway route for Co. Cork is a step closer after councillors gave the go ahead to outline planning permission for the 23km route

Business and tourism interests in Midleton and Youghal along Ireland’s ‘Ancient East’ have welcomed the unanimous vote which now allows the council to formalise the leasing of the railway line from Iarnród Éireann

It is estimated the initial cost of the project will be €19.1m

Read article

Oisín Coghlan: Let’s make 2019 the year we act on climate for a healthier future

Politicians and the public are paying attention to climate change like never before. We have the opportunity to make 2019 the year Ireland finally takes climate action seriously.

A special all-party Oireachtas committee is considering the far-reaching but practical recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly and will report at the end of January. The new minister, Richard Bruton, is promising a new all-of-Government climate action plan, modelled on the Action Plan for Jobs, that will lead to “a revolution in how we live”. So what should be in it?

A Just Transition Task Force

We have known for 20 years we have to stop burning coal and peat for electricity. We need a Just Transition Task Force now, with representatives from the unions, the ESB and Bord Na Móna, all the State agencies, NGOs like Irish Rural Link and local community development representatives. It needs the resources and authority to support affected workers, and their families and communities, to find new jobs and plan for a sustainable future for their region.

Moneypoint is closed now and has been for months, due to a fault. The lights are still on, proving we don’t need to burn coal even during peak winter demand. Serious consideration should be given to leaving Moneypoint offline. Coal provided just 12pc of our electricity in 2017 but more than 25pc of our climate pollution from electricity.

Peat is even worse, providing just 7pc of our electricity but producing 20pc of our pollution. We’ve been subsidising it to the tune of more than €100m a year. That direct subsidy ends in 2019, but Bord na Móna wants to keep burning peat for another 10 years, by co-firing its power plants with wood. We should wstop burning peat in 2020 and use the subsidies we save to support the affected workers and communities.

A payment for small-scale solar generation

Every school should have solar panels on their roofs, generating electricity and income. So should parish halls, sports clubs and farm buildings. It’s happening across Europe but doesn’t happen here because you have to give away power you don’t use to the ESB for free. Ireland does community-scale well, from Tidy Towns to GAA. We know there’s huge enthusiasm for community energy. We need to unlock that potential with a rooftop revolution that puts citizens at the heart of the energy transition.

An SSIA scheme for insulation, and a Tipperary Energy Agency for every county

We need to upgrade at least 100,000 homes a year between now and 2030. Houesholders are going to have to invest themselves, but the State has to make it attractive and simple. Something like the old SSIA scheme, for every €4 you invest in retrofitting your home, the State gives you €1.

But it’s not just a financial challenge, householders also need project management support to figure out what they need to get done and what contractor to trust to do it and at what price. The Tipperary Energy Agency has built up an unrivalled capability and reputation for doing that well in a way that appeals to people. We need to scale up the same capacity in every county in Ireland.

Transport is the area our pollution has risen fastest. We should implement the very simple Citizens’ Assembly recommendation that one-third of the transport budget should go on roads and two-thirds should go on public transport, cycling and walking, reversing the current ratio. We should implement the UN recommendation that 20pc of the budget should go on cycling and walking (less than 2pc does now), as that also tackles obesity and promotes healthy lifestyles.

These are two simple but essential policy tools we lack. The new climate and energy plan should come with two five-year carbon budgets, voted on by the Dáil. That’s simply the total amount of pollution Ireland will emit from 2021-2025 and 2026-2030.

Departments then negotiate within that for their share of the pie, just like the fiscal budget. At the moment there’s nothing to translate national targets into departmental discipline. Moreover, no Government policy that might affect our emissions should be adopted by Cabinet in the dark. It should run the numbers and estimate how much emissions will go up or down. That assessment should be in front of Cabinet when it makes the decision, and it should be published when it announces it.

A cheque in the post

We are going to need to increase the price on carbon, in line with the polluter pays principle. It will give a steady signal that every time we have a choice, choosing the less polluting option will save us money, as will investing in energy saving.

There are a number of ways to do carbon tax, but in an era when trust in politicians is low I favour the simplest, most transparent model, called “tax and dividend”, where 100pc of the tax revenue is given straight back as an equal flat lump sum to every man, woman and child in Ireland.

On average, poorer households spend less than richer households on polluting goods so the tax is a cash transfer from rich to poor. We all still face a price signal, polluting products get more and more expensive, but as we make the transition we protect those most vulnerable and those for whom less polluting choices are not readily available. So, in Budget 2020 the Dáil should vote for a €20 increase in the carbon tax and for a €5 increase every year after that. On January 1, 2020, we should all get our first carbon dividend cheque.

In Al Gore’s film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, he worried we would go from denial to despair without stopping in the middle for action. That is the choice we face right now. But it’s an easy choice: who wouldn’t want a warmer home with lower bills, better public transport and healthier lifestyles, and a chance for your community to own the energy that will power the future? Oh, plus a decent shot at containing climate change enough to protect that future.

Let’s make 2019 the year we finally step up, and set off on a safer, healthier path.

Oisín Coghlan is director of Friends of the Earth, a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition

Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice

Sign up now to Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice on 5 December

Worried about climate change? Frustrated by the government’s inaction on active travel and other measures to tackle emissions? Eager to do something to get your TDs to take #ClimateActionNow?

Then join the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition in Buswells Hotel, Dublin, on Wednesday 5th December, for Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice.

Cyclist.ie, a member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition since 2016, will be participating on the day offering cycling as a real solution to transport climate pollution reduction through the #Allocate4Cycling campaign.

Register for this event and email your TDs to ask them to meet you at the event.  A template is provided. You can add your own message about how cycling can help us meet our emissions targets:

  • Transport accounts for 20% of overall emissions (and of this 52% comes from private cars)
  • Investing in cycling provides excellent value for money
  • Cycle trips don’t generate air or noise pollution
  • Cycling is an affordable mobility option for all

Sounds great! But what should I talk to them about?

All you need to do is share your real concerns about climate change with your TDs. Tell them that as your elected representative, they and their party should do more to reduce Ireland’s emissions, and that we can’t go on being one of the worst polluters per person in Europe.

We took part in similar SCC hosted events previously and those who have participated have found them empowering. Plus, we know that TDs are impacted by meeting groups of their own constituents who care passionately about an issue. A few years ago, running a similar kind of lobby day secured the climate law. Now, we need an action plan that actually cuts greenhouse gas emissions.

Trishaw bike brings joy to residents of Belvilla Community Unit

“We have taken trips along the canal and really enjoy heading through the Tenters to Weaver Park, ending up in a shaded spot to enjoy some people-watching and ice-cream. Children and dogs find us particularly fascinating and come over to have a closer inspection. We’ve also had fun sitting in the sun listening to the bells of the Cathedral in St Patrick’s park and chatting to tourists about our ‘contraption’.” Read article

With help from Cycling without Age

Great Southern Greenway: Limerick – Kerry

Inching forward: two reports now issued, from Kerry County Council, on the the Listowel and Fenit Greenways

They contain a lot of information including maps and photographs. Also included are the 350 or so submissions on the project with over 300 of these being from the general public

Background: this Greenway follows the route of the old Limerick – Tralee / Fenit railway line. Currently a stretch between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale is open, in co. Limerick.

The Listowel document relates to the Limerick county section up to the Kerry boarder; the Fenit document relates to a separate section, from near Tralee to Fenit, both currently undeveloped.

Main website: http://www.southerntrail.net/

Further update, from the Kerryman

Cyclists call on gardaí to protect them from road rage drivers

Cyclists have called for more action by gardaí to protect cyclists after a number of apparent road rage incidents emerged in videos on social media.

The call came after dash-cam footage of an incident involving a cyclist and taxi driver on Belvedere Road between North Circular Road and Dorset Street in north Dublin was published on social media on Wednesday.

Read article (which contains video)

Cyclist.ie Budget 2019 #Allocate4Cycling

Cyclist.ie wants the Government to tackle Climate Change, our Health Crisis, and get better value for taxpayers’ money, by prioritising investing in cycling. Below is a Summary of Cyclist.ie’s submission to Finance for Budgetary Consideration.

This is a summary; this is the Full Submission

We are calling for 10% of Ireland’s Land Transport Budget to be spent on Cycling

10 Reasons to Prioritise Investment in Cycling

  1. It provides excellent value for money and addresses numerous government policies
  2. Helps tackle congestion
  3. Helps people get the exercise they need, improves public health, and saves money for the Health Service
  4. Can improve psychological well-being
  5. Will improve safety for cyclists and for other vulnerable road users
  6. Can help us meet our Climate Change Obligations
  7. Doesn’t’ generate air or noise pollution
  8. Can create better public places
  9. Offers an affordable mobility option for all
  10. Can boost local economic activity

What is the current situation?

  1. Cycling gets about 2% of the land transport budget and this has fallen in recent years
  2. 15 cyclists were killed on Irish roads in 2017 as a result of a collision involving a motorist. That is, the highest number in a decade
  3. Transport accounts for 20% of Ireland’s overall emissions
  4. Car dependence imposes significant economic costs on Irish society. The cost of congestion in the Greater Dublin Area was €358m in 2012 and is continuing to rise. The cost of congestion for all of Ireland was roughly €1.8bn
  5. The average cost of running a family car for a year in Ireland is approx €10,700
  6. The Healthy Ireland Framework and the National Physical Activity Plan recognise the importance of active travel to improve the health and well-being of the population
  7. The DTTAS Strategic Investment Priorities for Land Investment Policy states we must tackle urban congestion through improving walking and cycling
  8. The UN Environment Programme calls for 20% of transport funding to be spent on walking and cycling

Cyclist.ie’s Budget Priority Recommendations

Prioritise Investment in High Quality Safe Cycling Infrastructure

  • 10% of the Land Transport Budget to be invested in high quality cycling infrastructure. Expedite the Development of strategic cycling infrastructure projects. All planned primary and secondary cycle routes in major towns and cities and all projects in the GDA Cycle Network Plan to be completed as soon as possible
  • Cycling to be integrated into the transport system for all major public transport projects
  • All planned transport infrastructure including new roads, road upgrades junction design to take account of cycling, and comply with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) and The National Cycling Manual
  • Increase projected funding for Rural Greenways, especially those close to settlements and gathering points

Set up a dedicated National Cycling Office

  • DTTAS to appoint a National Cycling Officer at senior level who will head a National Cycling Office to promote and coordinate cycling development across Government Departments and nationally
  • Dedicated cycling officers to be appointed in every local authority to promote and coordinate cycling development locally

Invest in Safety and Awareness

  • Cycle Training to be available in all primary and secondary schools free of charge, and expansion of Cycle Training to 3rd level students and all adults
  • Increase in monetary fines for motoring offences impacting on cyclists, currently €60 whereas €80 for other offences
  • Introduction of fresh cycle friendly legislative initiatives to promote growth of cycling, including Safe Passing Distance, Contraflow Cycling, Left turn at red lights, Joint use of pedestrian and zebra crossings, and Cycle Priority Streets
  • Resourcing and training of Garda in cycle related legislation, and ‘Bike Start’ training to be introduced into the Garda College. Resourcing of greater levels of Garda enforcement of bike related vehicle offences
  • Taxi drivers to undergo Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) standard certification to ensure their skills are brought up to PSO standard
  • Extension of the Bike to Work scheme

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, is the umbrella organisation for cycling advocacy groups in Ireland and is the Irish member of ECF, the European Cyclists’ Federation

Full submission

CONTACT: Colm Ryder, Chairperson – Tel 0872376130 – Email

Leitrim Cycling Festival

Leitrim Cycling Festival will take place from the 22nd to the 24th of June in Manorhamilton and Dromahair. The aim of the festival is to celebrate the locality for its wonderful cycling routes, to bring people together to learn about the future of cycling in the area, to build a community that can be involved in developing the area and to have some fun.

Website and poster