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European Car Free Day requires support of government

21 September, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has urged drivers to 'show their support for European Car Free day tomorrow, by using public transport for the day'. But she was critical of the Government, whom she accused of promoting private car use more than any other government before it.

The 22nd September has been designated 'European Car Free Day', and this is the fifth year that the state will officially participate in the event. Free public transport will be available in a number of towns and cities throughout the state.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin once again welcomes the participation by this state in European Car Free Day, as a small yet significant step towards creating public awareness around issues such as pollution, car-pooling and the availability of public transport as a viable alternative to our spiralling traffic problems.

"However, the government's promotion of the event is laughable given that the chronic congestion in our cities and towns is the result of years of neglect of our public transport infrastructure by successive governments.

"Instead of investing in our bus and rail services we have the Minister for Transport scurrying around the country in his ministerial limousine opening new sections of motorway. Coupled with his ideological drive to privatise public transport, it is clear that this Minister and his Government have done more to encourage private car use than any previous administration.

"Yes, we need new roads, but more importantly we also require much needed investment in our public transport infrastructure if we are to capitalize on initiatives such as European Car Free day instead of it remaining a token feel good gesture.

"Sinn Féin would like to see this scheme extended in future so that as wide a range of people can benefit from this positive venture. Widespread availability of free public transport throughout the state, during the initiative is essential if this scheme is to be successful. I would encourage drivers to make a contribution toward protecting the environment by supporting European Car Free Day". ENDS

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