21 July 2022
By Tony Forde, Editor
Transport/Politics: BusConnects proposals have been received differently in Cork. A Bridge over the Mangala woods in Douglas is not liked by some, while others do not approve of losing garden space for pavement widening. Now a Green Party Cllr has released a statement.
“Private property rights and individualism have been the hallmark of the failed economics that has brought us to the brink of destroying our habitat. In Ireland, we live in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone where it is neither too hot nor too cold. Therefore it is hard for us to accept how serious the threat really is. The very foundations of our economic systems are being called into question. Yet that is what is at issue here. I wish it were otherwise. Our economic system has been based on the theory that if we all act individually without concern for others that that will deliver the best outcomes for everyone. People acting in their own self-interest will not pollute their environment, destroy their food systems, cast low-lying areas to flooding and miscalculate the number of housing units we require. Market forces will do the thinking for us.
As we look around us we have plenty of evidence that ‘market forces’ doesn’t deliver. So what is the answer? We have to move to systems thinking and understand that we live in a complex biological system that requires a significant amount of overall planning. This is ideological heresy to conservatives who cannot admit that they have gotten it wrong for years. Previous Governments have continuously signed us up to commitments on climate change and then omitted to tell us what changes needed to happen to deliver this.
In 2019 when I was first elected to Cork City Council a contentious roads project was proposed – namely Wilton Road. This did involve taking part of people’s front gardens to deliver a bus lane and 2 cycle lanes. This proposal was defeated with opponents arguing that there needed to be a bigger plan for the rest of the road. That plan is here and it is called ‘BusConnects Cork’. Wilton Road is the main artery delivering thousands of healthcare workers, patients, and students to a Maternity Hospital, a tertiary referral general hospital, the largest private hospital in Ireland and a university. How are those people going to come into the area? At present far too many are coming by private car. This is because our public transport system is too inconvenient and unreliable plus those who might want to cycle are discouraged from doing so.
As with the pandemic, we can howl at the moon at the unfairness of having to develop actions that we don’t like in the short term. Or we can take the short-term pain for the long term gain of preventing a complete breakdown of that which sustains us all.”