Last January, the WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak as a global health emergency. When it spread to western Europe in February and March, most governments imposed lockdowns, and encouraged people to avoid crowds and observe social distancing. They also encouraged people to walk or cycle where feasible and provided funding to improve facilities for active travel.

By the end of March, the Dutch engineering consultancy Mobycon, had produced guidance  Making Safe Space for Cycling in 10 Days: A Guide to Temporary Bike Lanes from Berlin. The title came from the time required for a German local authority to provide temporary bike lanes.

During the summer, the Irish government through the National Transport Authority provided funding to improve facilities for walking and cycling and invited applications for suitable schemes. Kildare County Council were awarded funding for a number of schemes for Maynooth and other Kildare towns which included temporary cycle lanes. The funding was conditional on the work being carried out by the end of November. (In reality, councils knew that they have until the end of January to complete them.) However, in the four months since July, no Covid works have taken place in the town. In contrast, Dublin City Council publishes progress reports on Covid-19 schemes on a monthly basis.

One would hope that in the case of an invasion, that the army in Kildare will react faster to an emergency than the council.

So How Much did Shane Ross Really Allocate to Cycling in 2019?

In 2019, with the assistance of parliamentary questions by TDs of all parties as well as independents, estimated that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) spent 1.4% of its capital budget on cycling in 2018. This article carries the results of a similar exercise for 2019 funding. Again it focuses on the DTTAS and ignores the funding of cycling by other government departments such as the Departments of Health or Education.

DTTAS funding for cycling is generally provided under the  heading of Land Transport but additional funding for cycling (greenways) was also provided under the heading of Tourism.

The principal source of data for Land Transport funding was the National Transport Authority (NTA) 2019 Annual Report Sustainable Transport Measures Grant.  The NTA lists all scheme according to the implementing local authority or other recipient. Some of their schemes are cycle only, while others are for more than one mode of transport. The proportion allocated to cycling was estimated on the basis set out in the following table:

The main categories of multi-mode projects were  – greenways, shared paths, shared space and BusConnects. Greenways and shared paths were divided on the basis of 50:50 expenditure while shared space was divided on the basis of 331/3  : 331/3  : 331/3 .  BusConnects was more problematic as its proportion of cycling can vary significantly. However, it was decided to proportion 10% of funding for cycling for a number of reasons. In particular, the primary objective was the need to reorganise the bus service but It was considered reasonable that a proportion should be allocated to cycling as the project includes segregated cycle facilities. It was decided to proportion 10% for cycling as that was the 2009 government target for cycling. There are grounds for arguing that 10% is too high and other arguments that 10% is too low but as BusConnects is a new project, it was decided that 10% was reasonable until its outcome in terms of provision of quality cycling infrastructure is clearer.

The NTA reported that in 2019 total expenditure on sustainable transport schemes was €39.6 million. Each NTA scheme was considered in turn and the appropriate percentage was applied in accordance with the type of scheme. In this way, NTA expenditure on cycling was estimated at  €17.9 million or 45% of NTA STMG grants. Tourism allocated €9.8 million to greenways, of which €4.9 million was deemed to be for cycling. Other cycling related spending by the DTTAS and NTA at €1 million included Cycle Right and Bikeweek, and was assumed to be 100% cycling related. Green Schools spending, with a budget of €2 million, was assumed to be 331/3% cycling related. Combining Land Transport and Tourism funding, total DTTAS expenditure on cycling in 2019 was estimated at €24.48 million.

The total Land Transport capital expenditure for 2019 was €1493 million. In calculating the appropriate amount, this figure was increased to take into account the Tourism expenditure on greenways so the overall total figure for expenditure by the DTTAS was €1,503 million. On this basis, the estimated proportion of DTTAS expenditure on cycling increased in 2019 from approximately 1.3% to 1.6% – a modest increase, which with ex-Minister Ross’s record, should surprise no-one.


RefGrant RecipientNTA GrantCycling Related NTA Grant % Cycling related/NTA Grant
CCC/Cork City Council€6,808,976€3,048,41944.8%
CCO/Cork County Council€1,327,678€138,10410.4%
DCUDCU Cycle Parking€62,104€62,1041
DLRCCDun Laoghaire Rathdown€1,413,278€956,87467.7%
FCCFingal County Council€2,292,155€1,143,94449.9%
GCCGalway County Council€620,140€280,75745.3%
KCCKildare County Council€728,138€380,13652.2%
LCCCLimerick City & County Council€3,327,944€1,290,21738.8%
MCCMeath Coiunty Council€2,650,571€245,3239.3%
NTA Regional Bikes Capital CostsCapital Costs€309,854€309,854
SDCCSouth Dublin County Council€1,758,660€1,174,07766.8%
An TaisceGreenschools Cycle & scooter parking€124,617€62,30950.0%
UCDPed Cycle facility€119,884€59,94250.0%
WCCWicklow County Council€399,077€138,97434.8%
WDCCWaterford City and County Council€1,722,907€701,06840.7%
Grand Total€39,622,891€17,921,78245.2%
A breakdown of expenditure within local authorities is available here.


Gross Voted Capital* €000s  
DTTAS – Dept Total Gross Voted Capital €2,005,308€2,343,869
DTTAS –  Land Transport Total Gross Voted Expenditure€1,660,507€1,934,981
DTTAS – Total Land Transport Gross Voted Capital€1,242,591€1,493,523
DTTAS – Tourism Greenways Gross Voted Capital€3,255,000€9,798,000
DTTAS – Total Land Transport+Greenways Gross Voted Capital€1,245,846€1,503,321
* Source Databank  
NTA Expenditure on Cycling   
NTA Annual Expenditure STMG€34,700€39,622
% Cycling 45.2%
NTA Cycling Expenditure €17,921
Traffic Management€6,900(€7,480)
Alternative Estimate of NTA Expenditure on Cycling* €13,205 
 *Note – NTA expenditure on cycling was calculated differently in 2018 and 2019.  
Other DTTAS/NTA Expenditure  
Cycle Right/Bikeweek€1,000€1,000
Green Schools€2,000€2,000
Other DTTAS/NTA Expenditure€3,288€6,559
Total DTTAS Expenditure on Cycling€16,492€24,480
% Total DTTAS Expenditure on Cycling*1.3%1.6%
Note there is a discrepancy in the 2018 estimates of percentage expenditure on cycling between 1.4% at the start of the article and 1.3% at the end. This is due to slight differences in the method of calculation.

PRESS RELEASE Welcomes the Programme for Government Commitment to Active Travel, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, has been calling for a revolution in the funding of cycling and walking for many years. We are seeking a 10% allocation for cycling from our government’s transport budgets.

We are delighted to see that the initial figures emerging from the government formation talks appear to have recognised this urgent need to invest in ‘active travel’ (walking and cycling) by allocating €360 million per annum towards cycling and walking schemes [1]. welcomes this commitment. has consistently highlighted the multiple benefits of investing in cycling – across economic, societal and environmental headings. On the public health side, regular cycling for everyday journeys builds exercise into our busy lives and it can be easier to maintain compared to recreational physical activity. Economically, each kilometre driven by a car incurs an external cost of €0.11, whereas cycling and walking bring benefits of €0.18 and €0.37 per kilometre, respectively (see New study reveals the social benefits of cycling and walking in the EU). On the emissions reduction front and responding to the Paris Climate Agreement, cycling and walking are an essential part of the solution in decarbonising our mobility system and hence are a critical part of the overall transport mix. This has been recognised in many progressive countries in North West Europe since the mid 1970s.

It is estimated that spending on cycling currently amounts to less than 2% of transport capital spending, as shown in’s 2020 Budget submission. Meanwhile the Third Report and Recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action [] and the 2019 Climate Action Plan all endorsed the spending of 10% of the transport budget on cycling.

Our expectations are that this funding will be spent on high quality cycling infrastructure in our towns and cities so that we can grow cycling to levels common in many continental countries. We also urgently need to redress the gender balance in cycling (currently only 27% of all persons commuting are female, as per Census 2016 data). As Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with summed it up, “we need to renormalise cycling to the shops, to school, to work and for other daily activities”.

Change Our Streets

Hello – You are invited to the following event:  CHANGE OUR STREETS

Event to be held at the following time and date:

                            Tuesday, 5 May 2020 from 19:00 to 19:45 (BST)

Tickets on Eventbrite –

Let’s Get Moving

          Tune in – Tuesday’s meeting is devoted to Sustainable Transport solutions

 We invite you to watch IN ADVANCE a short film (15mins) by Streetfilm on Groningen best cycling city in the world.

          Then from 7:00pm on Tuesday, we will meet on Zoom to discuss ways to                                #ChangeOurStreets to more sustainable future.

         *    What drives Dutch bike culture, socio-economic rewards of cycling, health                           effects of clean air and bonus lower noise pollution brings.
          *   How complementing wider investment into cycling infrastructure can help                          create  more  value in future.
          *  Lessons for Kildare

 Do share this event on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope you can make it.

All the Best,

Gerry Dornan, Maynooth Cycling Campaign

Deirdre Lane, ShamrockSpring 

Dropbox to Support Dublin Cycling Campaign

On Thursday 23rd January 2020, Dropbox will formally launch its initiative to support everyday cycling in Ireland at an event in its European Headquarters in Hatch Street in Dublin. Dropbox has agreed to support the work of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and to help it develop as a stronger cycling advocacy force.

Dropbox is the first company in Ireland to formally support the work of Dublin Cycling Campaign as Business Members. This follows its pioneering support for other progressive causes over the years such as the Marriage Equality and Pride campaigns.

Amongst the speakers at the special event on 23rd of January in the company’s Dublin headquarters will be Paulo Rodriguez, Director of Solutions EMEA, Klaus Bondam, CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, Dr. Sabina Brennan, Neuroscientist and Active Travel Advocate from Trinity College Dublin and Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network. Invitees will include senior executives from many of the country’s largest tech and finance firms, together with figures from the transport world.

Dropbox’s employee led initiative responds to the urgent need to develop Dublin and other Irish cities as bicycle friendly and Active Travel cities. Compared to other places where large tech companies are based – such as Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm and Amsterdam – Dublin and other Irish cities need to recognise the necessity to become properly bike and family friendly. This means ensuring greater investment in high quality segregated cycling infrastructure, making the most hostile junctions cycle friendly and lessening car domination of our streets, to encourage all ages, genders and ethnicities to be ‘active travellers’.

Speaking before the event, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama from, stated: “We are really delighted with Dropbox’s support for cycling advocacy. A recent internal employee survey found 85% of Dropbox employees, bike, walk or take public transport. Our advocacy work is continually pushing cycling up the political agenda. Our recent detailed budget submissions and presentations to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport succeeded in further raising awareness around the need to bring cycling into the core of transport thinking and practice. We now want this translated into higher levels of national investment, and quality schemes on the ground so our communities are cycle friendly for everyone aged 8 to 80. The support of Dropbox – and other progressive thinking companies – will enable us to transition into a much stronger advocacy force and accelerate this necessary transition.”

Speaking on behalf of Dropbox, Paulo Rodriguez, Director of Solutions EMEA added the following: “We understand the importance of making cities and towns bicycle friendly, and are delighted to partner with Dublin Cycling Campaign. They are advocating to make cycling a safe aspect of everyday life. We have been very impressed with their unceasing work to effect change at national, local and community levels.”


Government (excluding DTTaS) allocates €3.5 Million out of €186 Million for Everyday (Utility) Cycling

In response to parliamentary questions, Minister Shane Ross is very keen to point out that in addition to funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), the government also funds cycling through other departments including the Department of Community and Rural Regeneration and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. We decided to investigate the contribution to cycling by these departments.

Michael Ring is Minister for the Department of Community and Rural Affairs. In May 2018, he announced the allocation of €4.5 million. This was followed in September by an additional allocation of €8 million. This funding was under the Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) which supports disadvantaged communities throughout the country by providing capital grants to community groups so none of this funding was for cycling or cycle related projects.

In January 2019, the Minister and Fáilte Ireland jointly announced funding of €10.8 million for 78 outdoor recreation infrastructure projects. Of the 78, 19 were identified as wholly or partially cycle related at an estimated cost of €1,680,786.

In February 2019, the Minister made a major announcement with an allocation of €62 million for Rural Regeneration and Development projects across the country at a cost ranging from €20,000 to €10.2 Million. There were three cycle related projects. The first which was a 100% cycling related project, was for the development of a cycle network in Mayo/Galway at a cost of €75,000. The second in County Meath was allocated €845,250 for a navigation/greenway project. The cycling component was assumed to be 25% cycling or €211,312. The third was a flagship project of national importance– the development of mountain biking trails at a cost of €10.2 million. Mountain biking is a sport which is growing in popularity but it is a niche sport. Even among current cyclists it is very much a minority sport and has nothing to do with utility or everyday cycling. Although funding was provided by the Department of Community, it could equally have been provided by the section of government dealing with sport or tourism or transport. Omitting the mountain biking scheme, the total component allocated for everyday cycling from the other two amounts to €286,31. In total, Minister Ring allocated approximately €2 million out of €86 million.

In November 2018, as part of Project Ireland 2040, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government announced an allocation of €100 million for 88 projects under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF). The schemes were classified under various headings including community development, culture, specific capital projects, energy development, integrated urban development, library development, public realm regeneration, road/strategic infrastructure and strategic acquisitions.

There may be a number of projects which involve a small component of cycling eg projects involving public realm improvements but in isolation these are unlikely to make any significant impact to the level of cycling either nationally or locally. Cycling is only explicitly mentioned in the following five:

Screenshot 2019-10-24 at 11.33.48

The total value of the five is estimated at €5.7 million but the likely cycling component is only of the order of €1-2 million out of an allocation of €100 million.

We warmly welcome the additional contribution to everyday cycling by Ministers Ring and Murphy. However, this is a long way from’s campaign for 10% of the DTTAS Land Transport capital budget or €149 Million based on the Budget 2019 allocation. In Budget 2020, this rose to €194 Million. As everyday cycling is essentially about transport, the heavy lifting for providing funding rightly belongs in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.  If the Department fails to provide adequate funding for cycling, the primary responsibility rests with Shane Ross, the Minister in Charge.

Who Decides on the Expenditure of Discretionary Grants – Councillors or Officials?

Councillors like to think that they make policy and approve budgets while the role of officials is to implement policy. In the autumn, officials present draft budgets for the coming year for approval and after arguing over increases or decreases, councillors eventually approve the budget and strike an associated rate for business.

However, councillors are primarily concerned with discussing revenue raised by the council. The budget includes notional figures for grants from government or government bodies such as TII or NTA. These tend to be for specific projects which councillors wish to see progress. The difference between the estimated allocation and the actual drawdown is regularised when that year’s expenditure is finalised some 18 months later.

In the past, councillors have had little interest in this stream of funding from government as it was intended for specific schemes. However, in more recent years the DTTaS has allocated an element of Discretionary Funding which amounts to over €80 million nationally in 2019. Not all counties receive a Discretionary Grant. The Dublin Local Authorities do not receive anything. Kildare County Council’s portion amounts to €2.5 million – not a fortune by today’s standards but still a sizeable amount. Councillors frequently receive the response that no funding is available for a particular project. The question is who decides on its use – the elected councillors or officials? And, equally important, what proportion should be allocated to walking and cycling?

#Allocate4Cycling Working Group

Following the launch of its Budget Submission 2019 in September 2018 and the Lobby Day in Buswells Hotel, set up a working group to progress the #Allocate4Cycling Campaign which involved individuals from a number of campaign groups including Maynooth Cycling Campaign.

There were five objectives to our work:

  • Create a logo for #Allocate4Cycling
  • Clarify government expenditure on cycling
  • Make a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport with an objective of being invited to present before them
  • Engage with political parties, and
  • Publicise our efforts through the issue of press releases.

We designed a logo for #Allocate4Cycling to try and create a recognisable brand. #A4C LogoOriginally it was similar to a speed limit sign – with black text, white background  and surrounded with a red circle. After mature reflection, however, it was thought  that such signs indicate prohibition rather than approval so the colour was changed to white text, blue background and white circle. The intention was that the  logo would appear on websites and correspondence with external parties but the outcome has been patchy at best.

Estimation of government expenditure  was linked to engagement with political parties. We contacted all the parties which had indicated their support for #Allocate4Cycling as well as some independents and asked them to put down parliamentary questions on finance to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Some of the department responses were so obtuse that they shone no light on the issue at all but gradually the picture began to get clearer although we still require one final answer to fully resolve the question or as least as much as is possible.

We wanted to raise an issue with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport (JOCT) which might get have the same impact as Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA). We contacted Catherine Murphy TD who is an Oireachtas committee member for advice on how to raise such an issue. We had already made a submission on Budget 2019 and decided to submit a related one to the secretary of the JOCT. This may seem strange as the JOCCA has already endorsed the recommendation that 10% of transport capital funding should be allocated to cycling. However, it was felt important that the issue should be kept in the news to ensure that the recommendation is carried through to the All of Government Plan for Climate Action. This is especially important as the main government party representatives, Fine Gael, voted against the 10% allocation but were outvoted on a motion submitted by Eamon Ryan and supported by the members from other parties and independents.

One of the greatest difficulties for is having an impact in the media. is made up of a number of geographically spread  groups which are trying to make an impact in their own locality  as well as nationally. We have learnt lessons from our support for Stop Climate Change and the campaign for Active Travel. However, it would be fair to state that we have still to make an impact on this area  but hope to do better in the future. All in all though, we feel that progress is being made but that the next twelve months will be critical due to elections  (local, European and probably national),  the All of Government Report on Climate Action and Budget 2020.

CYCLIST.IE PRESS RELEASE – Report by Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, warmly welcomes the Report on Addressing Climate Change in Ireland by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action. As acknowledged by the government, Ireland is behind other European countries in attaining its binding, EU agreed, 2020 and 2030 targets with regards to energy efficiency and reduction of GHG emissions.

Colm Ryder, Chair of, said “This report is an important step on the path to decarbonising transport in Ireland. In particular, the cross-party recommendation for an allocation to cycling of 10% of transport investment is a momentous decision and when properly expended will ensure that the government delivers far ranging change not only in  carbon emissions but also in personal travel, health, congestion and air/noise pollution”.

The Committee is to be highly commended for its prioritising of active travel by placing it front and centre in the transport section of the report. Transport policies often pay lip-service to active travel but rarely give it the serious consideration it deserves. We acknowledge the proposed government investment in active travel in cities and welcome its extension to larger towns across the country. We regret that the Committee did not adopt the Citizens Assembly recommendation of reversing the proportion of funding towards roads relative to public transport. Simple rules will be required to proportion the allocation of investment to different modes of transport for, unless there is transparency and clarity about the funding, there is a risk of investment being misdirected.

The Committee acknowledges the impact of car travel on congestion and that the ‘do nothing” scenario will only lead to increasing gridlock in our towns and cities. While it is accepted that the  Committee has not considered school travel in depth, it is regrettable that efforts to deter school trips by car such as the closing of streets near schools to private car traffic have not been referenced.

We share the Committee’s concern about the length of time it takes to deliver major projects and welcome its support for multi-modal travel. We applaud its recommendation for restrictions on access of private cars to large urban centres but we are concerned about local authorities preference for ‘balance between road users’ which is often a  synonym for maintaining the status quo.

While electric vehicles have a role in decarbonising the transport sector, we regret that there is no mention of the huge potential of E-bikes. In countries where the level of cycling is high, the sale of such bikes far outweighs the number of electric cars and at far less cost to the individual and to government. It is hoped that in the future the Committee will also have the opportunity to consider the increasing use of cargo bikes for last mile deliveries across Europe, so we can replicate it here in Ireland.

We are happy to see the reference to trials of free public transport in a number of European cities, although it is disappointing that the report does not refer to the removal of hidden subsidies to car travel such as free parking at places of work, at shopping centres and in public areas.  These areas need to be addressed.

In summary, the report is an important step on the path to a carbon free future and warmly welcomes its publication.  Its ultimate success however will depend on how it informs the adoption of appropriate targets and on the monitoring and reporting of progress in Minister Richard Bruton’s  eagerly awaited All-of-Government Plan on Climate.