A Dublin councillor has apologised for saying “some cyclists behave like Nazis” at a Dublin City Council meeting of the South East Area committee of councilors at the start of the week.
The Sinn Féin councillor made the comment after he had spoken generally supportive of the Fitzwilliam cycle route, a 1km cycle route which was the topic of debate.
On Monday, Cllr Chris Andrews said: “I do believe that cycling infrastructure need to be improved. It’s really, really poor and dangerous in many places around the city. This is welcome and any improvement in cycling infrastructure is welcome. I do believe that communities and cycling infrastructure can work together and is good for both.”
Later in the debate he interjected and said: “Cllr [Dermot] Lacey said that some cyclist behave like loonatics, and, indeed, some cyclists behave like Nazis. The reality is we have to get the cycling infrastructure in place and this is a really important piece of infrastructure.”
When this website looked for clarity on what the councilor meant by his Nazi comments, he said: “If you listened to all the comments I made I spoke positively on the plans…. I indicated that the infrastructure is needed and communities can live together with this sort of cycle infrastructure contrary to what other councillors said. I said that all this was needed as the surface across the the city is desperate. My comments were much more positive than others who were trying to have it every way and councillors who are supposed to be bike ‘friendly’. It’s interesting that you would focus on that comment rather than all the positive things I said about the plans.”
On the day when IrishCycle.com reported the full range of comments from Cllr Andrews and others, Cllr Andrews defended the comment. On Twitter, he said: “It was a throw away remark about some cyclists and the fact that you would not acknowledge my clear support for the project and instead focus on that remark highlights for me why cyclists are resented by so many. Its a real ‘with us or against us’ point of view. I am a cyclist.”
Cllr Andrews issued an apology the next day after complaints were made to Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald.
In an email sent to a member of the public from McDonald’s office, a statement from Cllr Andrews said: “My use of the word Nazis to describe some cyclists was clearly wrong and I apologise unreservedly for my intemperate and use of a throw away remark.”
He added: “As a cyclist I underdtand the dangers cyclists face every day.”
EDITED: Article updated to reflected the source of the apology quote.