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European cities are banning cars for a day ... but Ireland's not getting involved

Limerick did so in 2014.

Image: Shutterstock

Updated at midday

CLOSE TO 300 European cities and regions in Europe have signed up to take part in European Mobility Week (EMW).

The initiative takes place annually from 16 to 22 September.

It aims to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking in towns and cities in order to mitigate air pollution and congestion caused by road traffic, thereby protecting the environment and improving quality of life for urban dwellers.

This year, several European cities will hold events to mark the week – with a number implementing car-free days.

In the UK, Aberdeen and Lambeth will ban cars for a day. Capital cities who plan to do the same include Stockholm in Sweden, Budapest in Hungary, Lisbon in Portugal and Ljubljana in Slovenia.

Last year Limerick was one of several cities that closed one or more streets to cars, instead opening them to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Cork county didn’t ban cars, but took part in other initiatives in 2014.

However, no Irish area seems to be following suit this time around. Some places, including Limerick and Cork, are going to hold events but banning cars isn’t on the agenda.

A spokesperson from the Department of the Environment said they are “currently unaware of any participating cities”.

“This department has acted as national coordinator for EMW since its inception and writes to each local authority to encourage participation in the week. It is the intention to do so again in the near future.”

Lack of funding 

Ireland has participated in EMW since its inception in 2002. In earlier years, the department provided funding to participating local authorities to promote EMW related events.

“Owing to budget reductions and the necessity to prioritise funding in other areas, no funding has been provided to support local authority EMW activities since 2011,” the spokesperson said.

Source: Limerick Smarter Travel/YouTube

A spokesperson for Limerick Smarter Travel could said the group organises a series of initiatives to mark European Mobility Week each year, but its plans for 2015 have not yet been finalised.

Read: Drive an old car? It’s about to become harder to get insured

Read: Almost 100,000 cars in Ireland don’t get driven at all

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Órla Ryan

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