Deputy Government Whip tells group against active travel project to email councillors “to provide any last minute feedback ahead of vote”

A Deputy Government Whip and Fianna Fáil’s Chief Whip, Cormac Devlin, a TD for Dún Laoghaire, has gone against Government policy by opposing the Dún Laoghaire Living Streets project, campaigners for the project have highlighted.

Deputy Devlin, who sits on the Oireachtas Climate Change Committee, provided a list of councillors’ email addresses to a group opposed to the project, which is a Pathfinder project aimed at speeding up climate action. Councillors are expected to vote on the project at their monthly council meeting on Monday.

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David Plant, who set up a petition against the Living Streets project as proposed, posted a letter from Deputy Devlin in an update to the petition on Change.org.

Key parts of the proposals include the pedestrianisation of 220m George’s Street Lower from the junction with Patrick’s St to St Michael’s Hospital, and modal filters — which allow only people walking and cycling to pass but not motorists.

The modal filters are planned for Tivoli Road, Cross Avenue, and Clarinda Park West. The filters’ purpose is to block rat-running traffic and make more streets low-traffic, thus making them safer and more attractive for walking and cycling while allowing car access. Officials have also said that emergency vehicles will be able to cross the

Referring to the public consolation submissions, Plant claimed: “When we take this non-DLR cohort out of the vote [consultation submissions], it shows that 54% of locals did not want to go ahead with Living Streets or wanted changes.” But the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council report on the consultation states that “51.8% of local residents were fully supportive of the scheme, with 36.2% not in favour” and that “61.6% of those residing in the Living Streets Neighbourhood were in favour without changes, with 25.2% not in favour.”

In Cormac Devlin’s email, which Plant posted on Change.org, the TD wrote: “Officials have indicated they intend to proceed with the scheme as proposed and the matter will be brought before Councillors where they can vote to either accept, reject or amend the plan.”

“Cllr Justin Moylan and Cllr Michael Clark are not happy with the proposal and they will be tabling amendments, including one to remove Tivoli Road from the scheme… They will be calling for roll call votes which will be recorded,” Devlin said.

He added: “Hopefully they will get support from the other Councillors, however if you and your group have not done so, it would be worth emailing Councillors over the next few days to provide any last minute feedback ahead of the vote. I’ve included the latest details for all 40 and the TDs below for convenience.”

Residents supporting the project have challenged Devlin on it on social media, which has resulted in him blocking them and deleting old tweets in support of cycling.

Mark Kane, a spokesperson for Support Living Streets Dun Laoghaire, a community group that is supporting the project, said: “Living Streets is a pathfinder project that, with investment of €20 million will improve Dun Laoghaire as a destination town, with elements promoting active travel, that includes pedestrianisation, safe cycling infrastructure and traffic calming measures. One essential element, the modal filter on Tivoli Road is being implemented to prioritise to-traffic and deter through traffic which brings no economic benefit to Dun Laoghaire.”

“The transport policy in the program for government, to which FF, FG and the Greens are signed up, promotes active travel, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport over private car journeys. A few rebel FF councillors, supported by TD Cormac Devlin, who is on the Climate Committee, are seeking to remove the Tivoli Road element, which threatens to undermine the viability of the project and the investment of €20 million,” he said.

“This is in stark contrast to his public tweet in support of cycling infrastructure made in 2018 during his visit to Utrecht, a tweet he recently deleted. When questioned about his stance on X, he has started to block accounts that are supportive of Living Streets that are asking these questions,” said Kane.

He added: “While it makes sense to change your mind based on new information, all new information since 2018 is telling us that we need to act faster and with great urgency, to do ‘everything, everywhere, all at once’ to tackle climate change.”

Jennifer O’Dwyer, a resident of Dun Laoghaire involved with campaigning for Living Streets, said: “As a resident deeply invested in the vision of Living Streets, I’m disheartened by Cormac Devlin’s recent attempts to rally a ‘no’ vote. Despite a historic 7,000 respondents with the majority in favour, his opposition is disappointing and goes against the clear will of the community.”

She added: “What’s equally troubling is the rushed deletion of previous tweets advocating for safer cycling. This inconsistency raises concerns about transparency and sincerity in representing our interests. I believe our community deserves a representative who stands by the values they once championed.”

Sorley McCaughey, another member of the Support Living Streets Dun Laoghaire group, said: “Short-term political interests trumping the greater good has been a huge obstacle to climate action. The science is clear – we need to take urgent action to reduce our emissions now — not kick it down the road for someone else to deal with.”

He added: “Deputy Devlin’s ambivalence towards climate action is impossible to justify and needs to be called out. We need politicians to lead – not fold in the face of short-term political interests.”


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2 comments

  1. The only question I’d have is the access to Michael’s hospital maintained for blue badge holders. I honestly haven’t seen the design yet in an accessible format

    Reply
    • Hi Martin, access to the hospital is still maintained, for all drivers, not just blue badge. You can drive from the York road side to the hospital entrance. The scheme will also see additional blue badge parking introduced in the town.

      Reply

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