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"Keep cyclists alive alive-oh": Hundreds of cyclists protest outside Department of Transport

The protest is being organised by the Dublin Cycling Campaign, and kicks off in Dublin city centre from 5.30pm.

unnamed (1) Source: RollingNews.ie

HUNDREDS OF CYCLISTS gathered in Dublin this evening to call for more funds to support the country’s cycling infrastructure.

The demonstration, which was organised by the Dublin Cycling Campaign (DCC), began at Government Buildings on Merrion Square, weaved slowly around Stephen’s Green, and stopping outside the Department of Transport on Leeson Lane in the south city centre.

DCC said that the protest was being held to draw attention to the fact that “cycling continues to get the crumbs at the table when it comes to overall national transport spend”.

The crowd, made up of families, working professionals, and public representatives, chanted ‘ten per cent’ – referring to the funding target they want increased – from the current 0.5%.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan took part in the protest, while the Green’s Ciaran Cuffe gave a rousing speech outside the Department of Transport to the crowd, who sang:

Keep cyclists alive, alive alive-oh.

‘Crumbs at the table’

DCC cites the fact that of the near €10 billion earmarked for transport in the Government’s Capital Investment Plan (CIP) for the next five years, just €100 million has been allocated to so-called ‘active travel’, or sustainable transport such as cycling and walking.

facebook Source: Facebook

Damien Ó Tuama, national cycling co-ordinator with Cyclist.ie, the Irish cycling advocacy network, says that the low-level of funding is the “overarching problem”.

“If you don’t have money allocated to cycling, nothing will happen, that’s what it comes down to,” he says.

“Securing funding is what we’re after,” he adds, saying the government needs to make clear where it stands with regard to the 2009 national cycling framework “which shows how you transition from where we are to a situation where everyone cycles all the time”.

We’re talking cycling training, cycle-friendly road design, driver behaviour moderation, all these kinds of things.

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The protest’s organisers are expecting at least 500 cyclists to attend this evening, with speakers such as Ó Tuama himself and Dublin councillors Andrew Montague and Alice Mary Higgins set to give the crowd their two cents.

“With the most recent government we’re not sure what type of priority they’re giving to cycling,” Ó Tuama says.

You can’t just ditch decades-long plans like this.

The single largest investment in the CIP regarding transport is the construction of Metro North, the new rail line between St Stephen’s Green in Dublin city to Dublin Airport, which is estimated to cost in the region of €2.4 billion.

€6 billion meanwhile has been allocated to improving the national roads network.

With reporting from Darragh Peter Murphy 

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