Citizens Assembly votes for greater funding, space and priority for buses and cycling

Citizens Assembly members have today voted to suggest to change Ireland transport funding away from roads and to prioritise public transport and cycling.

The members who were selected to represent a broad section of Irish society were this weekend looking at the issue of how Ireland tackles climate change. Experts presented to the Citizens Assembly before members voted today.

Of the 75 members who were present, 70 or 93% voted to suggest to government that the number of bus lanes, cycle lanes and park and ride facilities should be greatly increased in the next five years and much greater priority should be given over to these modes over private cars.

While 68 members (or 92% of valid votes) voted to change capital funding priority away from new roads to public transport by a ratio of at least 2-to-1. Cycling and walking are included within the ‘public transport’ header for capital spending.

The members also voted to support electric vehicles — with 92% voting to support electric cars. 

In non-transport areas the members voted to phase out subsidies for peat extraction andintroduce am independent watchdog on climate change which would set five-year targets on emission reduction.

Responding to the news this evening, the Galway Cycling Campaign said: “Let’s hope the government listens! We need to transform how we travel.”

The Dublin Cycling Campaign said, on Twitter: “The #CitizensAssembly has voted 93% in favour of increased investment in bus lanes, cycle lanes and park & ride. Is [transport minister] Shane Ross listening?”.

Oisin Coghlan, director of Friends of the Earth said: “These common-sense, practical recommendations for climate action will not get us from laggard to leader. But they will allow us to catch up with our European neighbours. If implemented by Government they will end nearly a decade of dithering and delay”.

Niamh Garvey, head of advocacy at Trócaire said: “Climate change is here, it is now, and it is everywhere. It’s impacting most profoundly on those who have done least to cause it. For the communities that Trócaire works with, the impacts of climate change are already too much.”

Citizens Assembly transport related vote results:


EDIT: This article was edited to include more detail and reactions.

4 Comments

  1. It’s great to see that the general public (as represented in the assembly) is in favor of making changes, but how binding on the government is any of this? If the government decides it’s just business as usual – what then?

  2. I have to say I’m very surprised to see this, because I don’t the general public are that interested in giving up, or accepting limitations on usage of, their cars. I imagine this will be spun as showing how out of touch with reality the assembly is.

    Only a couple of weeks ago I read someone stating they would be happy to use public transport as soon as it was a viable alternative to their private car. They went on to say that meant that it should be from the door of their house to the door of their destination, should leave immediately whenever they want and that they should not have to deal with the “unwashed masses”.

  3. It shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise that when ordinary people are taken out of their everyday lives and given a clear, concise, in-depth and scientifically accurate overview of a particular subject from unbiased experts in their field that they should come to rational and informed conclusions. Perhaps you need to reconsider your faith in human nature.

    What this outcome and others from the Citizens Assembly illustrates most clearly to me, however, is how much the public discourse, popular narrative (and often media coverage) on certain topics does not reflect the greater good or the informed opinions of experts or anyone who takes the time to listen to them. It is instead very often hijacked by wealthy and powerful vested interests that wish to retain the status quo.

    Say what you like about the Citizens Assembly. It may have been a responsibility-dodging exercise on the part of craven politicians, but it’s outcomes are challenging the status quo and the vested interests in a way that politicians never would, forcing dialogue and focusing on long-avoided issues and generally doing the country an considerable service in my opinion. Long may it continue.

  4. Meanwhile the minister for transport ,who is paid to deal with this problem would rather tackle an easier problem like North Korea

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