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Dublin: 19°C Wednesday 22 September 2021
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You wait all day for the Greens' election bus - and when it arrives it's mildly terrifying

It’s not often you get to shout “bridge!” at an election event.

When you’re a smaller party, you need to do whatever you can to get attention.

HE HAS A point, the Greens’ press man. Between leader canvasses, manifesto launches and everything else, there are dozens of media events on each day of the election campaign.

It helps to stand out from the crowd – so there’s a bus on the way to bring journalists on a tour of Dublin as part of Eamon Ryan’s lunchtime event. Plenty of opportunities for nice footage and photos – and as a result there’s a sizeable crowd of reporters, photographers and cameramen waiting by the steps of the Mansion House.

And waiting…

“I suppose this demonstrates the sort of problems we have in the city at the moment,” the party’s director of elections Ciarán Cuffe observes, attempting to put a positive spin on things.

Indeed it does…

For the record, the Greens’ ‘Plan to Save Dublin from Traffic Gridlock’ proposes a massive investment in public transport, cycling and walking routes – including a half billion spend on Rapid Bus Transport.

Off the Cuffe

Before Ryan has a chance to expand on those plans, however, there’s an unexpected guest: George Hook arrives on the scene to hold forth on one of his pet topics and record a report for his show – kicking off a (voluble) ad-hoc debate with Cuffe.

The veteran Newstalk presenter – as his listeners will no doubt be aware – is no fan of two-wheeled road-users, once declaring “I hate cyclists with a passion”.

Before long, their argument is heading down a well-trodden path – Cuffe, with gusto, suggesting the presenter spends his spare time merrily mowing down cyclists in his SUV; Hook opining “you cannot bring your 47 inch flat screen television home from Arnotts on a bicycle”.

Still waiting

Side-show over, Ryan answers questions for longer than expected as the wait for the bus continues – deftly introducing local candidates to field questions on various parts of the transport plan.

The party wants more bus stations to ease the pressure on the creaking Busáras, for instance, including one near Heuston Station. They also want more parts of town pedestrianised and they’re calling for the reinstatement of the plan for a directly-elected mayor.

That idea, as you may recall, bit the dust back in 2014. But according to Ryan:

To make all this work the experience internationally is the buck has to stop somewhere. You have to have a directly-elected mayor who will have a real mandate to integrate transport in our city.

The proposal is their number one priority when it comes to Dublin transport, Ryan says.

Top deck 

As his doorstep winds down, there’s yet more talk about buses and where this new western bus station might be placed.

Which reminds us:

TheJournal.ie: ”And where’s your bus?”
Eamon Ryan: ”I don’t know.”

After several false alarms, there’s a two-minute warning from Cuffe. Our transport duly arrives and around 20 Green party candidates, supporters and members of the fourth estate clamour to the top deck for a (now slightly truncated) tour of Georgian Dublin.

Ryan acts as a sort of pop-up tour guide over the next 20 minutes – pointing out various streets and sights, and setting out the Greens’ masterplan for different parts of the city.

It’s a commanding performance from the experienced ex-minister.

Unfortunately for him, his audience of reporters are driven to distraction worrying about the snappers and cameramen clinging on for dear life up ahead of him – standing up on their seats as they strain for that perfect shot.

I even had to shout “bridge!” at one point as we sailed from Pearse Street down towards College Green…

Nobody ever wants to be the idiot who shouts “bridge!” unnecessarily and ruins everyone’s fun – but in this case I reckon it was probably the right move.

e6 Source: Daragh Brophy

10/02/2016. Green Party - unveil transport proposa The professional view... Source: Sam Boal

Originally posted Wednesday night. Updated 7am

Read: The results of the first poll taken DURING the election aren’t great news for the coalition

Read: ‘Come over here’: Gerry and Enda shook hands in Sligo this morning 

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