Dublin streets go car-free

Part of Dublin city centre became car-free for a day in a bid to persuade residents to leave their vehicles at home.

Several roads in the Irish capital were closed to traffic on Saturday for the first time in nearly a decade to celebrate Car Free Day.

Irish government chiefs promised to expand next year’s event to bring Dublin’s efforts in line with those of other capital cities.

Environment minister John Gormley, who made his way into the city centre by bicycle on Saturday, said: “Encouraging more people out of private cars and on to public transport and other modes – not least bicycles – has a major role to play in improving the environment of our cities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

He added: “I see this year’s events as the rebirth of Car Free Day and I look forward to working closely with the city council to develop an expanded programme for next year.”

However, just three streets were closed for the event and Mr Gormley admitted that more parts of the city should be closed to vehicles for the day.

He said: “Certain criticisms are legitimate, and other capital cities do a lot more on Car Free Day.

“But this is only the start. Next year will be even better. This year people should get a good flavour of what’s going to happen in future years.”

A range of family activities organised by Dublin City Council took place in the temporarily-pedestrianised streets throughout the day on Saturday.

Cork City Council and Waterford City Council were among other Irish local authorities which also ran initiatives to mark Car Free Day.

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