Cyclists in Dungarvan, County Waterford
Green Party Local Area Rep for Dungarvan, Críostóir Ó Faoláin, has welcomed the announcement that 248 new jobs will be created in local authorities and Regional Cycle Design Offices around the country.
The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has confirmed that these new jobs will be focused on designing and developing high quality walking and cycling infrastructure.
This announcement comes on the heels of an increase in funding for walking and cycling infrastructure in Budget 2021, which provides €360 million this year.
“I welcome the new jobs which will be created in Waterford City and County Council, and the announcement that a Regional Cycle Design Office will be based in Waterford," Mr Ó Faoláin said.
"The Council will now have the capacity to deliver high quality walking and cycling facilities over the coming years. The extensive budget and the new jobs that have been announced demonstrate this Government's commitment to delivering high quality walking and cycling facilities around the country.
"We can create a country in which the bike is again used as a normal means of getting to school, going to work or to the shops. It is important that best practice in design is implemented so that routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities. People need to be confident when they use a route that it is safe. The new Regional Cycle Design Offices will be central to delivering this objective," he continued.
Mr Ó Faoláin said Dungarvan is "perfect" to be a cycle friendly town. "The size of the town is ideal, and we don’t have any big hills either," he said.
"The only thing missing is safe infrastructure. Work on this was begun some years ago with the Smarter Travel initiative. We have the opportunity to build on this work. I want to see the Greenway extended into the centre of town, and safe segregated cycle tracks built from the edge of town to connect residential areas with the town centre.
"There is also no shortage of footpaths in Dungarvan that need fixing. It’s not just Dungarvan either - work needs to be done in Ballinroad, the Gaeltacht, Ardmore, Clashmore, Kilrossanty and other places."
Mr Ó Faoláin said there are many benefits of walking and cycling. "We will have a healthier and happier population, with positive benefits for the health service, and it will be good for the pocket too as cycling reduces fuel costs and time stuck in traffic. This is a golden opportunity to make Waterford a better place to live and it must not be allowed to slip through our fingers," he added.