Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Promoting Cycling: Motion [Private Members]
I am delighted to be here. I appreciate my colleagues giving me a few minutes to support what Deputy Troy has brought before us. We could put it this way: we are listening to people and that is our job as politicians. One thing that has happened in this country over a long period of time is that politicians have stopped listening to people. In my constituency of Roscommon-Galway, thousands of people cycle, during the week in summer and on the weekends in the winter time when daylight and conditions are not as good.
As a rural Deputy, I travel thousands of kilometres some weeks. I applaud the cycling community for its safety consciousness. Cyclists are well lit up, they travel together and have respect on the roads. It is time we acknowledge what those people are saying, move forward and do what we need to do. We should not be cutting budgets for cycling. It is a healthy exercise and good for people. It is also very good in regard to the issue of mental health. It brings people together. I know people who suffer from depression but because they go out two or three times a week, meet with their friends and colleagues and go on a cycle they feel an awful lot better.
I will also refer to one instance concerning rural Ireland that perhaps nobody else will bring up. I was talking to an old lady who is a neighbour of my own who made the point to me recently that for years nobody was living on her road. Cyclists now regularly go down the road, and they stop and have a chat with her. We should remember that. I urge the Minister to support what we are doing here and to stick with the cycling community. We should do what we can for that community. Things change and we need to move on with this. We need to put proper infrastructure in place in every county and every constituency so as to support what cyclists are doing.