— One organisation listed as a member says they are not.
— Some names listed are just street names.
— Most named of “city-wide” group focused around one area.
— Campaigners point to Cllr Flynn’s history against cycle routes.
Cllr Mannix Flynn, who is listed as a spokesperson for the new ‘Cycle Lane Action Group’, has refused to answer questions about serious issues around the make-up of the new group.
On April 23, RTE.ie reported that: “a new group, the Cycle Lane Action Group, has formed made up of 19 residents and disability groups all over the city who are concerned about the way Covid Mobility measures are being applied mainly involving giving over road space to cyclists and pedestrians.”
While a Breakingnews.ie article, which was syndicated across a number of websites, claimed in its opening paragraph that the group is “A citywide campaign group of residents, community groups and local businesses”.
IrishCycle.com has however found out that the majority of the groups named are focused on or near the south east Dublin City area around Sandymount or Ringsend, and one of those have confirmed to this website that they are not involved.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre said: “We can confirm that RICC are not a part of any groups against the proposed cycle lane. RICC have always remained neutral in these areas.”
Other names listed are vague, such as street names that do not seem to correspond to any known groups.
Cycle Lane Action Group describes Cllr Mannix Flynn as its lead spokesperson. He is also a serial objector to cycle routes and related projects, including the proposed College Green Plaza.
Cllr Flynn, along with a local resident, is currently taking a High Court case against Dublin City Council’s Strand Road Cycle Route trial — a hearing on such is expected to take place on June 24. Cllr Flynn has also threatened that plans by Dublin City Council to trial the pedestrianisation of Merrion Row, Mary Street and part of Capel Street to help restaurateurs with outdoor dining this summer could face a Court challenge.
As IrishCycle.com has previously reported, Cllr Flynn’s comments against cycle route include that the Liffey Cycle Route will “kill the city economy. Cyclists don’t keep the economy going.” He also voted against the South Dublin Quietway which was aimed at giving school children a safe route to schools.
When Cllr Flynn was on Prime Time at the start of 2018 to discuss the high number of people who died while cycling the year before, Cllr Flynn said that “the biggest problem we have is cyclists behaviour” and cyclists being disrespectful of other road user.
A statement from the Cycle Lane Action Group which was published on Buzz.ie, on Breakingnews.ie and syndicated on other websites, Cllr Flynn said: “To be very clear, our group does not object to cycle lanes, but we do object to the undemocratic way Dublin City Council is forcing through these changes to our neighbourhoods and wrecking the streetscape while endangering lives.”
He added: “There have not been proper consultation processes and there are very serious health & safety concerns. In the case of Griffith Avenue, the appointed health & safety experts raised safety issues in a number of areas, but four months on, Dublin City Council refuse to fully action them.”
Councils have said that they implemented COVID-19 mobility measures because more people were walking, cycling and seeking space in crowded areas in the pandemic, but Cllr Flynn said: “The Council is using Covid-19 as an excuse to ram through these changes.”
Responding to statement, the Dublin Commuter Coalition said that journalists are doing themselves a disservice by reporting on a cycle lane opposition group as if they are not such.
Dublin Commuter Coalition, a sustainable transport advocacy group, said: “Polite notice to all journalists: Anyone who can print the line, [that] Cllr Mannix Flynn states he is not against cycle lanes, despite objecting to every proposed cycle project in the city since being elected is doing themselves a disservice.”
They added: “If something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”
When RTE reported on the group, the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “Be in no doubt that the pushback against all progressive walking, cycling and liveability measures is now in full swing, led by Cllr Mannix Flynn, and emboldened by weak councillors kowtowing to vocal minorities. It is time for those who want a liveable Dublin to get vocal too!”
This includes the Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre, which denied being a member of the group.
As well as most of the opposition group being from areas around Sandymount, at least two of the groups listed on Dublinpeople.com were set up to oppose cycling and pedestrian improvements in the last year and others are vaguely named as listed as return nothing relevant in extensive searches.
Spellman Centre, which full name is ‘Spellman Centre: Ringsend & District Response to Drugs’, did not respond to requests for comment as to why it is listed as a member of the Cycle Lane Action Group.
When contacted, Ballsbridge Living pointing this website to the private email address of Patrick Byrne. Byrne, a Ballsbridge-based pharmacist, used his business name Paddy Byrne Life Pharmacy to donated €400 to the group opposing the Strand Road cycle route.
On its website, Ballsbridge Living states that it is supported by the RDS, Irish Life, Sherry Fitzgerald, Landsdowne Place Ballsbridge, the Dalata Hotel Group, Patrizia, and BNP Paribas Real Estate. Landsdowne Place is a residential development by Chartered Land, with agents Savills and Sherry FitzGerald.
Emails sent to Ballsbridge Living and CCed to Byrne on Wednesday asked if Byrne was a spokesperson for Ballsbridge Living on this issue, who Ballsbridge Living represents, and if it is a member of the Cycle Lane Action Group, which is objecting to cycle routes. No reply has been forthcoming since an email from Ballsbridge Living referred to Byrne.
A local residents group, Griffith Avenue and District Residents Association (GADRA), has previously objected to a cycle route and related measures, but GADRA said that they are not involved with the new group, called ‘Griffith Avenue Residents Group’ in the Dublin People article and ‘Griffith Ave Group’ in a planning complaint against the Griffith Avenue cycle route aimed at school children.
A spokesperson for Griffith Avenue and District Residents Association said: “GADRA is a resident association which was set up in 1970 and represents residents from Ballymun Road to Drumcondra road which is a small section of Griffith Ave. We are not the Griffith Avenue Residents Group nor are we party to any planning application.”
The planning complaint against the Griffith Avenue cycle route is listed under the name “Fiona Gartland for Griffith Ave Group”.
This publication sent three emails with requests for comment between April 17 and 26 to two different email addresses of author and Irish Times section editor Fiona Gartland. Questions included when was the group formed, was it formed just to object to a cycle route aimed at school children, and a request for more details the route being claimed to be a “traffic hazard” — none of the questions were responded to before the publication of this article.
As in the case of the Strand Road cycle route trial in Sandymount, Dublin City Council’s planning section ruled that the Griffith Ave cycle route is allowed under the Road Traffic Acts.
This website previously found WhatApps most effective getting a response from Cllr Flynn, however, this week WhatApp showed the following questions sent were read but there was no reply from Cllr Flynn.
We sent the questions across a number of days as our research expanded. Starting first with a request for a copy of the statement from the new Cycle Lane Action Group, and then questions on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. We finally asked today for a final request a reply to the previously asked questions.
IrishCycle.com asked Cllr Flynn what for a reply to what the Dublin Commuter Coalition said, and we asked did he provide the list of supporters to the Dublin People or other media outlets.
After the Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre said they should not be on the list, this website asked Cllr Flynn how the list of supporters was compiled and if he is sure that all of the other organisations listed actually support the Cycle Lane Action Group. No reply was forthcoming from Cllr Flynn before the publication of this article.