Department of Education to reopen its Cycle to Work scheme on June 8

New applications for the Cycle to Work scheme from Department of Education employees will be accepted from June 8, the Department told this morning.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh has come under criticism this week due to the department’s temporary closure of the scheme to its employees. Ciaran Cuffe, Green Party MEP for Dublin, said on Sunday: “@McHughJoeTD suspends entry to Bike To Work scheme for teachers and staff, blaming #Covid-19. Not a good look.”
Conn Donovan, a primary school teacher and Cork-based cycling campaigner, said: “Shutting down the bike to work scheme for 65k public sector workers is the direct opposite approach to what is being taken in Italy, France, and the U.K. where financial assistance is being made available to help people move from public transport to bikes during #Covid_19.”

In a notice on its website, the Department of Education and Skills had said: “To support efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus, new applications for the Cycle to Work scheme are not being accepted until further notice.” It did not respond directly how this approach goes against the approach by cities such as Dublin to put cycling central to reopening urban areas without them getting clogged by cars.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills said this morning: “The processing of cycle to work applications for staff paid on payrolls operated by the Department was temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The priority has been to ensure the 125,000 payees on the payrolls continued to be paid on a fortnightly basis.”

They added: “The Department will reopen the scheme for new applications from the 8th June. In 2019 there were 1,918 applications to the scheme processed and in 2020 there were 760 processed. Any applications that were outstanding since March 12 will be dealt with as soon as possible after the scheme reopens.”

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