The Sinn Féin TD for Meath East, Darren O’Rourke has hit out at the slow movement in transport change in the county.

He told Meath Live, “The Government talk a lot about climate change and the need to tackle it – but when it comes to Navan Rail (at least 10 years away), expanding the public bus network (no expansion and cutbacks on some college routes) and reducing fares (exorbitant prices in Meath compared to other areas) – they do nothing. It’s incredibly frustrating.“I’m struggling to see how the government’s current transport plans will deliver the transformational change needed to reduce the sector’s emissions by 42% – 50% as per the Climate Action Plan.

“Put bluntly, the scale, ambition, and pace of change simply aren’t there to achieve this goal.“The Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy, published last week, aims to have just 11.5% of journeys by bike by 2042.“Compare this with Copenhagen, where today 49% of journeys are made by bicycle.

 

 

 

“Another example is the Safe Routes to School Programme. This programme aims to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities to increase active travel.“It’s massively oversubscribed, with 931 schools expressing interest, but just 170 schools awarded funding this year. 4 in Meath.“Schools are crying out for investment and support to increase active travel, but the government are failing to meet the demand.“Similarly, public transport fares are a huge barrier for many people, and we aren’t seeing the ambition needed to reduce costs for people to encourage them to take the bus, train or tram. That is certainly the case in Meath where commuters are excluded from the short hop scheme and are charged significantly higher fares than commuters in Dublin and in comparison to commuters in parts of Wicklow and Kildare.“Likewise, funding for the NTA’s Connecting Ireland rural bus plan is backloaded, with just 10% of funding allocated in Year 1 and no guarantee of future funding.“These are just some examples of low-hanging fruit that can be immediately tackled to kick start a significant reduction in our emissions.“There’s a clear contradiction between the climate rhetoric and action on the ground when it comes to tackling transport emissions.

“In my opinion, the current scale, ambition, and pace of change won’t deliver the transformational change we need to meet our climate targets.