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21st August 2019 | Press Releases, Transport

Minister threatens to overrule Regional Assembly’s plans for public transport in the Greater Dublin Area

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Green Councillors on the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly have condemned Planning Minister Eoghan Murphy’s threat to direct the Regional Assembly to delete public transport projects from the 2019 to 2031 Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy.

The Minister proposes to direct the deletion of a number of public transport projects from the Strategy on the grounds that they are not included in the NTA’s Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy adopted in 2016. The Assembly, taking account of planned development in the area and the Climate Emergency, noted that the NTA’s Strategy is predicted to lead to a 30% increase in emissions over the twenty years to 2035 and decided that far greater investment in public transport is required. Therefore, it added additional public transport projects to its Strategy.

The projects the Minister now intends to have deleted from the Strategy include

  • The Navan rail line which was ready to go when the previous FG Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, postponed it in 2011;
  • Electrification of railway lines from Dublin to the North and Southwest;
  • Metro extensions to UCD and Knocklyon;
  • Appraisal and planning for Luas extensions to Hazelhatch, Booterstown and Blessington.

Green member of the Regional Assembly, South Dublin Councillor Francis Duffy commented:

“The Regional Assembly is committed to prioritising public transport investment in its Strategy. The previous approach of public transport getting the crumbs of investment is not acceptable to the citizens of our region and as members of the Regional Assembly we will not stand over it. We are committed to planning for a high quality, rail-based electrified transport system. We are not seeking conflict with central government but we will make our voices heard to urge them to respond to the public demand for quality public transport.”

Green member of the Regional Assembly, Fingal Councillor David Healy commented:

“The National Transport Authority is planning an increase of 30% in transport greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years. Having considered all of the evidence, the Regional Assembly decided that the ongoing reliance on private cars in the Region is not compatible with the national objective of transition to a low carbon economy. We have resolved that a significant shift to public transport is required and have made some modest initial proposals for improving rail transport in the Region, with a view to ensuring that new development in the Region is rail-based. It is depressing to think that this Minister is threatening to interfere in our decisions.”

The Green Assembly members are urging citizens to make their voices heard in favour of sustainable transport by responding to the consultation on the draft Direction: https://emra.ie/draft-ministerial-direction-rses/