Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Promoting Cycling: Motion [Private Members]
They would quite happily not engage with politicians if they could reasonably avoid it. These people have engaged with us nonetheless. If they thought everything in the motion was already being done and was a priority on the Government's agenda, they would probably be in town doing some Christmas shopping or at home with their families. They would not be sending us emails or contacting us in other ways because they would not need to do so. There is a clear issue and the motion provides an opportunity to collectively say it is the will of the Dáil that greater priority should be placed on cycling and other sustainable forms of transport. We really cannot keep going the way we are. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and although the number of people cycling is growing, the number of people campaigning for better infrastructure for cyclists is also increasing at a similar rate. They see the problems and that much can be done to make not just our city but the State a much better and safer place for cyclists.
In my area there are plans for a greenway going from Skerries to Balbriggan and from Baldoyle to Portmarnock and linking Malahide. This is fantastic but it is at either end of north County Dublin. It would be a great boost for tourism if the cycleway went the full length of the north county coast. It would be a great statement to give a full and clear commitment with funding to ensure this could happen.
The Minister was fairly clear in saying he wanted to do everything in the motion and it is only the hint of condemnation that stops him from crossing over and joining our side of the argument. If those actions were being taken, we would not be here debating the motion as there would be no need. We would not be here talking about how we need more investment. The people in the Gallery watching the debate would not be here either. I thank the Deputies for bringing forward and moving the motion which was due to be discussed last week.
We had very time-sensitive legislation and are grateful to the Deputies for moving the motion forward to facilitate that.
If the Minister looks up at the Public Gallery, he will see that we have a problem. Clearly, there is no faith that it is being done so perhaps the Minister can inject some hope into this debate that he will do what is in the motion, which he says he agrees with, because it is not us that he must convince, it is the people who are campaigning for it.