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Campaign launched after Dublin axes only cycling officer

The public are being urged to contact councillors and TDs, after funding was ended for the advocacy role.

People taking part in the Dublin City Cycle in 2009
People taking part in the Dublin City Cycle in 2009
Image: Bikeweek.ie via Flickr

A FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN has been launched to save Dublin’s only cycling officer, after it emerged the job would be cut as part of spending reductions.

Community organisation Rothar, which helps provide training and jobs restoring bikes, is urging its followers to contact local TDs and city councillors over the move. The group said the cut goes against the Government’s health and environmental policy and will leave cyclists without an advocate in city planning.

Rothar founder Anne Bedos told TheJournal.ie that keeping the position was “directly in line with government policy. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The Irish Times reports that cycling officer Ciarán Fallon is due to leave his job next Thursday after the council was instructed by the Department of the Environment to end funding for the role.

But launching a Facebook campaign, Rothar wrote: “Dublin City Council has a target of having 15% of commuters on pedal power by 2017 [...] So why are the government getting rid of the Dublin cycling officer?”

Bedos suggested that ending the role was a false economy. ” We’re talking about one position, I think the budget is around €60,000,” she said. “But cycling is a recession buster. It’s cheap, you can ride a bicycle for nothing. Not spend a penny on petrol.”

She said it could also help relieve congestion, and bring more people in to business districts. “Lots of our local shops and businesses are being closed down. Cycling can bring more people, more life in to city centres,” she said.

In 2007, the Labour Party stated that it would appoint a cycling officer in every local authority “to promote cycling and encourage greater cycling numbers by providing safer cycling routes”.

The statement added: “Cycling needs a dedicated officer to promote, educate and progress cycling initiatives at local level.”

The capital’s DublinBikes scheme has become one of the most successful of its kind in the world, with commuters clocking up more than 2.5million trips since its launch two years ago.

More: In numbers: DublinBikes celebrates its 2nd birthday>

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Michael Freeman

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