Running scared on transport no way to tackle congestion and pollution

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Fine Gael and Fianna Fail must stand over their own climate commitments

Friends of the Earth has criticised Fianna Fail and Fine Gael after a memo on developing a new strategy to reduce Ireland’s dependence on the private car [1] was pulled from the Cabinet agenda at the last minute this morning, as it was deemed too “controversial” [2].

Reacting, Friends of the Earth chief executive, Oisín Coghlan, said:

“It’s a very worrying sign if Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are too scared to even talk about how to achieve the transport targets they agreed just months ago.

“Last year the Government made a binding commitment to cut polluting emissions from transport in half by 2030. And just before Christmas they announced in the Climate Action Plan that meant a 25% reduction in car journeys and a 50% increase in cycling and walking.

“Now they don’t even want to talk about a memo from the Minister for Transport on beginning to draft a strategy to actually make that happen!

“You have to wonder are Fine Gael and Fianna Fail serious about keeping the commitments they have made under their own climate law? Are they getting cold feet about tackling an overheating world? Or are they running scared at the first sign of opposition from fossil fuel interests?

“This is like pulling a memo on developing the smoking ban after the first press release from publicans. It’s even more surprising when many of the proposed changes to improve accessibility and public health and to lower emissions are hardly revolutionary and are already in place in other European cities.

“We need our political leaders to lead on climate action. In this case, it’s simply to lead the conversation with the public about how we get to a safer, cleaner future. And to be honest with people, as they were during Covid, that while the road ahead is rocky, change is necessary in order to protect and support our communities. Instead, ministers ran for cover at the first sign of controversy.

“The longer we leave the first steps of this journey the more disruptive and difficult it will be. Delay of a matter of weeks isn’t disastrous but once the Patrick’s Day break is over the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail need to take responsibility for the decisions they have already made and be honest with their parties and the public about the road ahead.”



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Climate Change