— IPCC Sixth Report highlighted how cycling could have a large impact.
— Fianna Fáil politicians in Taoiseach’s constituency have opposed active travel projects.
— Cork Cycling Campaign invites Taoiseach on cycle to see issues and potential.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been asked to show leadership at a local as well as an international level after he tweeted that “leaders have a responsibility to drive climate delivery”.
The Taoiseach made the comments after arriving at COP27, the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, today.
Taoiseach Martin said: “Just arrived at #COP27 in Sharm El- Sheikh. Important few days ahead. Many countries who contribute least to climate change are bearing the brunt of its impact. Leaders have a responsibility to drive climate delivery – and a sustainable future for our planet and people alike.”
Local cycling campaigners in Taoiseach’s hometown however have said while Government funding for active travel is welcomed, it needs to be backed by leadership from national and local politicians supporting projects, a faster rollout of measures and campaigns to change attitudes.
Conn Donovan, chairperson of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said: “While it is encouraging to see the Taoiseach call for leadership on climate action, many people will be wondering what leadership the Taoiseach is showing or has shown in recent months regarding transport emissions.”
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“Given that the IPCC Sixth Report specifically highlighted that cycling is one of the lifestyle changes that has the largest potential to reduce personal carbon footprints, it is surely appropriate for the Taoiseach to show leadership on the issue of cycling,” he said.
Donovan said: “Under the Programme for Government, over a million euro a day was allocated for walking and cycling projects across the country. However, when plans for new cycling projects go out for public consultation in Cork, Councilllors and TDs in the Taoiseach’s own party are often quick to be critical of the plans.”
Donovan said that as chair of the Cork Cycling Campaign, he would “be happy to accompany Mr Martin on a short cycle around our home town, Cork, at a time of his convenience in the coming weeks and months.”
Donovan said: “In the five years, I have personally be involved in cycle advocacy in Cork, I am unaware of one single positive intervention that the Taoiseach has made regarding cycling in Cork.”
He added: “This is not limited to just plans for new cycle lanes, I’m happy to be corrected but I don’t believe the Taoiseach has spoken about the lack of a city-wide 30km/h zone in Cork, about the fact that the modal share for Cork was 4% in the Draft City Development Plan, and subsequently raised to 10% which is still only half of the target for the French city of Rennes for 2020, the lack of safe and secure indoor bike parking in Cork, or the chronic issues that the TFI Bike Share Scheme faces in Cork.”