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Car-Free Day turns into a farce.

Ah Yes, Dublin. Ireland’s capital and home of the Celtic Tiger. Nuclear Free since 1985 an proud of it, our environmental credentials tattooed on our city’s arm. Sure we’re great.

Well how do we show the world how great we are? Dublin Corporation and Minister Dan Wallace believe they have the answer. As our government tell the rest of the world how much we’re doing to keep the Earth Summit accords alive, details of this years Car-Free Day are announced.

And how is the European Car-Free Day handled in Dublin? The corporation is keeping all the roads….open! In fact, they are encouraging people to drive in to do their shopping. Car-Free Day (September 22nd) is, after all, falling on a Saturday, and we all know how important it is to let people use their cars on a day when most people don’t need to go to work. The Corporation is only interested in people using public transport during the week.

This is all the more disappointing when you consider what a success the limited Car-Free Day was last year. Then only a limited number of streets were closed, and the closures occurred between 10am and 4pm. Opinion polls of Dubliners taken after the event show strong public support of it, with people regarding it well and almost unanimously agreeing that it should be an annual event (over 90% of people felt this).

Is it any wonder that William Campbell is pursuing RTE and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission over AA Roadwatch’s in-built bias, with The AA officially regarding Car-Free Day as a “public relations gimmick” and still being free to air it’s views on RTE, unchallenged.

Now, nearly 900 European cities have managed to agree to ban cars from their city centres for the duration of the day, you’d think Ireland could do the same.

Green Party Councillor Eamon Ryan has gone as far to say that “..They’re only paying lip service to the idea of a cleaner, quiet city. It’s a misnomer now, and they should cancel it,”

so, while the rest or Europe can walk around their city centres in peace and quiet, at least for one day, Dubliners have to content with the same old pollution, gridlock and misery.

All we’re asking for is one day, just one day to walk around the streets of our own city, and what does the corporation do? Decide to close a quiet part of the quays at Custom House Dock.

If you think this isn’t good enough, you can phone Dublin Corporation on (01) 672 2222, the Office of the Director of Traffic on (01) 672 2257 and The Department of the Environment on (01) 888 2000.

Make sure to explain fully how you’d like to see a genuine Car-Free Day reinstated.

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