A Fianna Fail councillor in Limerick has claimed a cycle route, construction on which started today, will be “chaotic” — and she also said that “I’m not against cycle lanes” after making similar comments on three other cycle routes which she objected to.
It is seen by some as a part of a wider political move locally by some in Fianna Fail, led by local TD Willie O’Dea, to oppose cycle routes and similar measures in the city.
The latest project to be the focus of Cllr Catherine Slattery, who works with O’Dea, is a two-way cycle path that is being constructed on Childers Road from the Greenpark Junction to Roxboro Roundabout. The project underwent public consultation in November 2022 and Cllr Slattery responded at the time seeking an additional crossing outside a school.
In a video posted to her Facebook page yesterday, Cllr Slattery said: “Good morning everyone, I just wanted to come on and get people’s opinion on a cycle lane that’s planned for Childers Road, to my knowledge it will be from the Community Centre at Our Lady of Lourdes right up to the Roxboro Roundabout.”
“Personally, myself, I’m not against cycle lanes but I do not think that a cycle lane in this particular area is justified. The traffic is too congested, we have two schools in the area, and, you know, it’s very busy. I think that a cycle lane here is going to be chaotic and I just would not be in favour of it,” she said.
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She added: “I think there’s inside estates which could have shared spaces for cyclists and stuff like that. So, I’d appreciate it if you could leave your opinion under this video.”
While the council has claimed not to be against cycle lanes, she has now objected to a number of cycle routes.
Cllr Slattery previously objected to a quick-build section of the cycle route on another section of the same road, calling it a “S##t show” because a car had broken down and caused traffic congestion.
In November 2022, she said: “A mistake was made on designing this cycle lane and it needs to be rectified. I use this road a few times a day and no one uses the cycle lane. Can it be removed or reduced???? If not can a section of footpath be used to move the cycle lane in and widen the road its chaos most days with traffic delays.”
When challenged on her stance by some local campaigners, she said: “I’m not against cycle lanes but if they are going to be done then do them right and do not try to shame me for having an opinion I’m entitled too it.”
Cllr Slattery also campaigned for traffic calming on adjoining Hyde Road to slow drivers down, but then she objected when cycle tracks were included as part of the measures to make the road safer.
In February of this year, the LimerickPost.ie reported that she “fumed” asking: “Do Active Travel think people are mind readers? How were they to know this and make an objection? What if people do not have internet? This is ludicrous.”
On the nearby South Circular Road, also in February, Cllr Slattery said: “I’m in favour of more people cycling and less car traffic, but I’m not in favour of a cycle lane where it is inappropriate, and I feel it is inappropriate on the South Circular Road.”
In reply to one of the comments posted under her Facebook video, the councillors said: “…but at least I’m voicing my opinion and letting Active Travel know I’m against it more then the rest are doing.”
But when the Childers Road project went to public consultation in October 2022 a submission from Cllr Slattery only requested the addition of a pedestrian crossing. The submission in full said: “A pedestrian crossing is needed on childers road at Janesboro School where the traffic warden is located to assist them to cross children safely. This is a very busy road with many children crossing at this location and for safety reasons I am asking for a pedestrian crossing to be added to the plans.”