Week’s events: RSA ‘Cycling Safety’ event, EU Transport Council, Irish Rail dispute, and Smithfield and Stoneybatter Food Festival

9th October, 2015

We are seeing a significant increase in the number of cyclists on our roads, which is fantastic. However, the dangers that exists are never far from our minds. This week, I launched the Road Safety Authority’s Annual Academic Lecture, the theme of which was ‘Cycling Safety’ and the focus of which was on bike helmets as a means of reducing the number of fatal head injuries on our roads. The research presented made for difficult listening but hammered home the message that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect ourselves when we are out and about on the bike.


That same day, I reported that 244 Fixed Charge Notices (FCN), or fines, have been issued to cyclists who have broken the law in the last two months since the introduction of the new Regulations in respect of road traffic offences for cyclists were introduced. It is good to see the impact the measure is having already. It is my intention that this will highlight the dangers that exist for cyclists and encourage them to take their safety on the roads more seriously.


This week I was in Luxembourg for a meeting of EU Transport Ministers, which was very productive. Issues under discussion were the future of the railway sector across the EU, as well as a proposed strategy to further increase cycling. I also spoke about the Volkswagen scandal at the Council meeting and the impact it is having on consumers.


With railways in mind, I was very disappointed to see a decision taken by Irish Rail staff to embark on a number of stoppages in the weeks ahead. This is in response to a dispute between management and unions.   I have been working hard to support Irish Rail in its efforts to get itself on a more stable financial footing since I came to Office and am committed to working to provide funds so that services to the public can be protected and further developed. I am calling on all sides to re-engage in talks so that disruption to the public can be avoided.


There was good news on the jobs front this week for Dublin 7 with 200 additional positions announced at Workday Inc in Church St. The decision by the company to open its new European Headquarters there demonstrates the attractiveness of the area, which is showing real signs of growth, with its close proximity to the city centre as well as to great local amenities. Great news.


I also announced two appointments within my Department. The first was Kieran Mulvey as the Chair of the new Sport Ireland body. The second was Graham Doyle as the Department’s new Secretary General. I wish them both the very best of luck in their new roles.


I couldn’t go without a mention of Ireland’s soccer performance last night against Germany. A fantastic night which will be remembered by all for a Long, Long time to come.


The weekend, I will cheering the boys on again but from afar as I will be at the rugby match against France in Cardiff on Sunday. In advance of that I will be enjoying the first annual Smithfield and Stoneybatter Food Festival that runs from tonight until Sunday. A fantastic initiative undertaken by local businesses in the area with a view to encouraging more people to come to Smithfield and Stoneybatter to enjoy all that we have to offer. Expecting great turn-out.