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Green Party leader and TRansport Minister Eamon Ryan Alamy Stock Photo
EU ELECTION 2024

Eamon Ryan hits back at Fine Gael's Regina Doherty for likening Dublin bike lanes to Berlin Wall

Ryan said he “fundamentally disagreed” with Doherty.

TRANSPORT MINISTER AND Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan has said he “fundamentally disagrees” with Fine Gael MEP candidate Regina Doherty after she likened cycle lanes in Dublin City to the Berlin Wall and accused Green politicians of being “arrogant” and “autocratic”. 

Doherty said that the Green Party “have turned Dublin into a spaghetti junction of cycle lanes that have divided the city like East and West Berlin” and that they are “in thrall to the cyclists’ lobby to such an extent they are now doing damage to the concept of cycling”.

“We need to combat the over-mighty Greens in Europe,” she said and pledged to be a “watchdog” in the EU.

“We need a credible watchdog in Europe to mark the Greens on climate change. The Greens currently are doing more harm than good to the climate change agenda.”

She also criticised the Dublin Transport Plan, a Dublin City Council initiative which aims to divert through traffic away from the city centre. 

Doherty said that the public consultation carried out by DCC had been insufficient. 

“I fundamentally disagree with her. But that’s politics. You’re allowed to disagree. It’s the people that matter, it’s what they think,” Ryan said today in response to Doherty’s outlandish remarks. 

He agreed that talking down to people is not the best way to effect change in climate policy, adding that transitioning to greener policies won’t work if it is “top down, telling people what to do, wagging the finger, blaming people”.

“This has to be asking people for help and come from the bottom up as well.”

Responding to the accusation of arrogance on the part of Green politicians, Ryan said:

“There’s no arrogance in the approach that we’re taking to climate. It’s the exact opposite. It’s actually trying to build consensus, build political consensus.” 

He said all parties have a role to play in that respect. 

“Now I differ fundamentally with Regina Doherty on the vision of the city. I don’t believe Dublin is going to work for Dubliners if it’s clogged with traffic, if it’s not safe to cycle and to walk, if you don’t have a functional public transport system.”

“I think we need to change the city for the better by switching to these sustainable alternatives, which is good for climate but also good for social justice, good for health, good for the economy, because the city doesn’t work when it’s gridlocked.

He said he hopes people vote on Friday for “strong climate action”.

“They do have a choice. The European election is all about this, will the EPP (European People’s Party) and Fine Gael, will they go with the right in stopping the Green Deal?

“There’s every sign that they might well do. The future of our climate response is at stake in this election,” Ryan said.

Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe said during a debate on RTÉ last night that Doherty’s comments were “something you might hear at the far end of a pub at closing time”. 

Cuffe said Doherty and Fine Gael were “living in the past”. 

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