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.