We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Changes to traffic management at Pearse Street, Bachelor’s Walk and Aston Quay begin next month. Alamy Stock Photo
bumper to bumper

Councillors slam 'bizarre overreach' as junior minister seeks to halt Dublin traffic plan

Minister of State Emer Higgins is set to ask DCC to delay the plans until at least after Christmas.


MINISTER OF STATE Emer Higgins has been accused of a “major overreach” after she sought to intervene to request that a major traffic rerouting plan for Dublin is delayed.

From next month, a new strategy is set to be implemented in Dublin that aims to reduce traffic in the city by preventing motorists from travelling through the city from one side to the other.  

It forms part of the Dublin City Centre Transport Plan and although it is not a ban on cars in the city it does stop motorists driving all the way down the north and south quays. 

Private vehicle traffic on the North and South Quays would no longer be allowed to drive along Bachelor’s Walk and Aston Quay, with access restricted to buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians.

It means that quays near O’Connell Bridge will become bus lanes only and that traffic going north on Westland Row near Pearse Street station will now be right-turn only. 

The plan was approved by councillors in November and public consultations held by Dublin City Council (DCC) also demonstrated support for the plan, but business groups including Ibec have said not enough consideration has been given to the possible negative impacts. 

In response to those concerns, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Emer Higgins is set to ask DCC to delay the plans until at least after Christmas. 

In a statement to RTÉ, Higgins said: ”For me it all comes down to protecting jobs. We heard from retailers in the last two weeks in particular that there are very valid concerns.”

“I really do think we need to get this right. And part of that is going to be around getting the timing right. I would prefer for further consultation with retailers and further implementation of Bus Connects before we introduce a significant change like this.”

The Junior Minister is set to meet with councillors and the National Transport Authority this morning to outline those concerns but her intervention has already been criticised by some on the council. 

In a number of statements, Green Party councillors have labelled he efforts as “bizarre” and a “major overreach”. 

Feljin Jose, Green Party councillor for Cabra-Glasnevin, yesterday tweeted:  

“Emer Higgins going behind elected councillors and supporting the car park owners in trying to delay the City Centre Transport Plan is a major overreach of her role as junior minister for business. She has no power over this.”

In a statement, Green Party leader on DCC Cllr. Michael Pidgeon said that people in the city are “sick of waiting in traffic and waiting for buses” and that the plan should proceed. 

“This last-ditch intervention by Minister Emer Higgins is utterly bizarre. She is doing the work of vested interests – car park owners who fear any progress that would undermine their bottom line,” he said. 

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan also backed councillors to have the final say on the plans. 

“It’s up to the city council to decide, they decided twice and if they decided to delay now I think the people of Dublin would be rightly deeply upset,” he said. yesterday. 

Speaking today, Fianna Fáil Minister of State in the Department of Transport James Lawless also said that he supported the plans and that the decisions of local government should be respected. 

“I think we have to believe in local government,” he told RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne. 

“I respect the mandate that Minister Higgins has as a spokesperson or representative of the retail sectors. However, we’ve just had a local election with a brand new city council in position, and they’ve been working on this for some years.”

I don’t personally believe that there should be a change in direction, if there was to be, it’s ultimately for that county council to decide.

The move to restrict cars along the quays in Dublin is motivated by evidence that 60% of the traffic coming into the city centre is not people going into the city but from people who are travelling through the city. 

Lawless added that traffic public transport in Dublin city centre has to be prioritised and that this will also help deliveries and other businesses uses of city roads. 

“We need to improve connectivity and flows through the city centre and often the car gets in the way of that. One of the benefits of a remodelled city centre traffic plan is, not only more efficient public transport, but for those car users who do need to bring a car into the city or a van for deliveries or work purposes, there’ll actually be a better opportunity for them to opportunity for them to do that.”

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel