New Census Data Confirms Legacy of 'Celtic Tiger' Sprawl

16th December 2012
Press Release

The Central Statistics Office recently published data showing that 69 per cent of commuters travelled to work by car. This is a damning indictment of the complete absence of joined-up land-use and transport planning that created the 'Celtic Tiger' sprawl. Difficulties in providing public transport to this sprawl means that the numbers of commuters using public transport remains dismally low and is falling. Meanwhile, Ireland remains one of the most car dependent countries in the world.

Charles Stanley-Smith of An Taisce stated "An Taisce has always highlighted the long-term consequences of urban sprawl and the proliferation of one-off housing around our towns and cities, which has led to excessive reliance on private cars."

Ireland is 99% dependent on foreign imported oil for transport, which means that over six billion euro per annum is leaving the Irish economy. Irish families, with no option but to use a car, are further exposed to escalating costs from any rise in international oil prices.

These new figures show that during the Celtic Tiger years, the commuter belts of the major cities, particularly Dublin, were allowed to drastically expand. It is no coincidence that County Laois, the county with the highest proportionate population growth, is one of the most car-dependent. It also has the longest commuting times with many driving for over one and a half hours to work.

Mr. Stanley-Smith added "We are faced with higher fuel prices in the future and we need to ensure that we have a better planned approach - otherwise our economy, society and environment will suffer. Service provision, particularly in rural areas, will become increasingly unviable resulting in withdrawal of important community supports."

He continued “We are calling on the government to urgently initiate a review of the National Spatial Strategy and the Smarter Travel policy. Based on these census figures a radical review of these strategies is required, particularly to ensure better joined up thinking between land-use and transport planning.”

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications - Tel: 087 2411995

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland