PROVIDING safe, sustainable travel options for people to get to school and work is the key to the success of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023 (Cap23), according to a local Green Party representative.
Marc O’Riain, representative for Kinsale-Bandon, said that no one is trying to take cars off people but that Cap23, which was released just before Christmas, is looking at providing sustainable options for people to get to work and school.
‘Obviously we have very different needs in West Cork compared to urban areas but the fact that Cork has the highest amount of car journeys by post-primary students in the country is reflective of the poor nature of public transport in West Cork,’ he told The Southern Star.
Some of the plans outlined in Cap23 include reducing the total distance driven across all car journeys by 20%, while also increasing walking and cycling networks. The aim is to reduce the number of ‘school run’ journeys undertaken by private car by 30%, while also delivering 35 Sustainable Mobility Pathfinder projects around the county by 2025.
‘This plan is looking to invest and improve options for people to get to work and school in a more sustainable manner. It’s looking to reduce the percentage of car journeys rather than a reduction in the number of cars,’ said Marc.
He also said there is a need to invest more in the bus networks in West Cork in particular as people will use them if more are available.
His Skibbereen colleague, Rory Jackson has welcomed the ambitious plans.
‘Obviously from a rural point of view in West Cork the challenges are going to be harder and the idea of one in three private cars being electric may not work down here compared to urban areas.
‘But overall the plan is about encouraging safe active travel routes and increasing cycleways and pathways,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Cork South West Independent TD Michael Collins said that not one extra public transport service has been provided in West Cork by the Government over their two and a half years in power.
‘There are areas like Goleen and Casltetownbere crying out for transport services which aren’t there,’ said Deputy Collins. ‘We even had a private operator, West Cork Connect, put a proposal to the National Transport Authority for a bus route from Goleen to Schull, which would link up with service in Skibbereen but they turned him down. Yet they are not providing anything.’