Letters to the Editor: Transport system drives us in wrong direction

Letters to the Editor: Transport system drives us in wrong direction

While wearing a helmet and hi-vis jacket might seem the best way to make people who cycle safer — the evidence points to different measures. It also focuses on the person who cycles rather than the transport system.

In response to Brendan Casserly’s letter — ‘Update law on cyclists’ visability’ ( Irish Examiner, February 13), I will explain my position. I worked as a university researcher, so I’m trained to look at the evidence.

While wearing a helmet and hi-vis jacket might seem the best way to make people who cycle safer — the evidence points to different measures. It also focuses on the person who cycles rather than the transport system.

The two best ways to protect people who are walking or cycling are to have segregated infrastructure, and where that can’t happen, lower vehicle speeds. The Love 30 campaign is about bringing the default speed limit in city areas to 30km/h.

At 30km/h a person whether they are driving, walking or cycling has a one in 10 chance of being killed or seriously injured. At 40km/h that risk increases to one in four.

My point about Cllr Keohane’s motion was that although it was well intentioned it shifted the focus from the real measures that would ensure safety on our roads. Since getting elected in May 2019 I’ve had many parents contact me asking for the speed limit on their street to be lowered. Narrow streets are often used as shortcuts for people who are driving rather than as safe spaces for the people who live in that area.

If you want to see the evidence in practice go to Clonakilty. The road and public realm design there have made the town safer for all. The cars must slow down because of good design. The emphasis in road design in the past has been on moving people around in a car; there is insufficient road space allocated for cycling or public transport.

The Green Party would like to change that emphasis. We would like to see most people preferring to use public transport, walking or cycling as a means of moving around the city. We need to move our transport system away from people opting to drive to their local shop.

From an air quality perspective, carbon emissions, noise or inadequate exercise, the system we have now is driving people (pardon the pun) in the wrong direction.

I live 2km from Wilton shopping centre. I would like to be able to walk or cycle there but the Wilton roundabout is a death trap for pedestrians or cyclists, and the footpaths are too narrow or in poor repair and the noise from the traffic is unpleasant.

Making it illegal to cycle without a helmet or hi-vis jacket simply makes it more difficult for people who want to cycle and doesn’t encourage the modal shift that we need.

Colette Finn

Glasheen Rd

Cork

Constitutionally all of our lives matter

Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu criticises people who make statements such as 'all lives matter' saying until equality has been reached for black lives, then "it doesn't matter about anyone else."* — ‘Lord Mayor of Dublin criticises people who say ‘all lives matter’,’ (Irish Examiner, online, February 14)

 The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu.
 The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu.

Regardless of the concernsexpressed in her contribution Ms Chu is mandated to represent all the people of the City of Dublin, and not just one section of our community.

Criminal law is there to deal with racist allegations, and the courts should act swiftly to penalise law breakers.

Our Constitution confers equal rights on all our citizens including members of the black community. Black lives do matter but so do all our lives, and that’s the law.

Peter Mulvany

Conquer Hill Rd

Clontarf

*Lord Mayor Chu clarified this comment after the webinar to say her intended meaning was "equality will only matter when we have equality for all". The original article has been amended to reflect this clarification.

Property’s personal

Would Ted Myers be so quick to suggest compulsory purchase orders if the CPO was targeting his property? ‘Use CPOs to repurpose our vacant residencies’ ( Irish Examiner, Letters, February 15).

it is the State’s responsibility to provide housing for its people rather than stealing something belonging to someone else.

And as for “give it to an NGO”? Ludicrous. If someone worked to own a house it should be their own business what they do with it.

John Williams

Clonmel

Pension payments to public servants

I think it is time to highlight the difference between the haves and the have nots in Irish society.

Take a simple example of, let’s say, two women aged 20 who started work in 1980. One starts in the public service as a clerical officer (an entry level grade in the public service). The second starts in the private sector in a similar role.

Move 40 years forward to 2020 and lets see the difference.

The public servant can retire on full pension (50% of final salary of €40,000 = €20,000 or approx €400 per week). The private sector worker may not retire until 66 years of age or 2026, by which time the public servant will have recieved €120,000.

The private sector worker will then qualify for the state pension of approx €250. This is 62% of the public service pension. During the 40 years of work the private sector worker pays 4% of salary in PRSI where the public sector worker pays less than 1% of salary.

It is time to highlight the difference between the haves and the have nots in Irish society, says Irish Examiner reader, Brendan Somers.
It is time to highlight the difference between the haves and the have nots in Irish society, says Irish Examiner reader, Brendan Somers.

As there is a government committee looking at pensions in Ireland I think it is time to show the difference in how similar workers are treated in regard to pensions.

Also there is direct link between the salary of a sitting publiç servant and a retired one.

If a clerical officer gets a 3% increase the retired clerical officer get a 3% increase in pension. It is time to explore what really passes for equality in this country.

Brendan Somers

Ballyjamesduff

Cavan

Women not heard — proportionally

Larry Dunne in his letter ‘What will keep columnist happy?’ ( Irish Examiner, February 12) refers to Clodagh Finn’s column of February 10 — ‘Women’s voices are still not being heard in the public domain’ — and thinks that the ‘facts’ say that women’s voices are being heard in the public domain.

I am afraid that the relevant facts, rather than the random facts quoted by Mr Dunne, say that women’s voices are not heard where power lies.

The Dáil is the most powerful decision making forum in our democracy.

Women, because they live longer, are a majority in the electorate but at present the Dáil is nearly 80% male in what is supposed to be a representative democracy.

And we should be aware that this figure is an improvement from what the average was since independence.

Since independence the Dail was 95% male.

Even after the introduction of a quota, which allowed candidates to be 70% male, the male proportion of the Dáil has been lowered to nearly 80%.

Contrary to Mr Dunne’s assertion women’s voices are, therefore, not being heard in the Dáil at anything like their proportion in the electorate.

A Leavy

Sutton

Dublin 13

Taoiseach should go to White House

No less a personage than Henry Kissinger once said: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.”

Former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with President Donald Trump on  St Patricks’ Day in 2018.
Former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with President Donald Trump on  St Patricks’ Day in 2018.

Optimal relations with the US is a primary national interest for most countries.

The bowl of shamrock in the Oval Office on St Patrick’s Day is as much a national treasure as the Book of Kells or the Ardagh chalice.

The demography of US politics is changing and we probably won’t see a US president as interested in and associated with our small island for many a year.

If it is at all possible and safe to do so, An Taoiseach should travel to Washington for St Patrick’s Day.

President Joseph Robinette Biden loves Ireland’s music as well as its poetry. There’s no better music than the Cork accent in the West Wing on St Patrick’s Day.

Every small country on the face of the Earth envies this unique and always important opportunity.

Michael Deasy

Carrigart

Co Donegal

Louise O’Neill is totally out of touch

I’m writing to you regarding your columnist: Louise O’Neill: ‘I haven’t been on a flight since February 2020 and I am yearning for it’ ( Irish Examiner, online, February 14).

Columnist Louise O'Neill.
Columnist Louise O'Neill.

I’m shocked by how out of touch and irresponsible the article is. We are in a global climate crisis that, in the next 20 years, will see irreversible changes to our weather, diets, and lifestyle as aresult of our ecological systems in chaos.

Gearing people up to book a bunch of unnecessary flights next year is just propelling us from one life-threatening disaster straight into the next.

How about advising citizens on lifestyle changes that might actually benefit us and our children?

Impact-driven changes like reducing meat consumption, buying organic, switching to renewable energy and ethical banks, driving hybrid vehicles and flying less, or not at all.

“When, oh when will this be all over?” It’s time to start reading some non-fiction, Louise. This is just the beginning.

Alanna Curtin

Peckham

London

UK

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