Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Action David Cullinane TD said that a first-class public transport system for the greater Dublin area is key to tackling air pollution and that capital investment must be escalated as a matter of priority.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“The Environmental Agency Report has produced a report which shows that Dublin city may have higher levels of air pollution than previously indicated.
“Unfortunately, this is to be expected given the decades of under-investment in public transport and the lack of a proper housing development strategy.
“Successive governments, led by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, prioritised land developers who built housing estates for commuters up to 50 miles from where people worked.
“The lack of public transport infrastructure forced people into their cars – a boom for dealerships and associated businesses.
“Dublin became an area of speculation, with families and communities a distant second.
“This needs to be reversed.
“Yet, instead of investment, the government has responded with privatisation.
“The selling off of Dublin bus routes will not tackle capacity issues. This strategy will not take more people out of their cars.
“It is clear that significant investment in public transport is a priority solution to air pollution and transport emissions and a transition to public transport to areas outside of Dublin where commuters live would undoubtedly contribute substantially to tackling air pollution.
“At the very least, we need to increase the Public Service Obligation (PSO) subsidy for public transport to EU levels.
“Sinn Féin will continue to make this a key priority for the party. It is the only way forward.”