Tuesday, 24 January 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Wilson: asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the refusal of the Garda authorities to support bus lanes in Cork city, especially since bus lanes have considerably improved the traffic flow in Dublin city.
Mr. Kavanagh: The making of by-laws or temporary rules under sections 89 and 90 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, for the regulation and control of traffic and parking in any specified area is a matter for the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, subject to my consent.
In the interest of early implementation of a broad range of traffic and parking controls for Cork city and county, I consented on 6 January 1984 to the making by the Commissioner of the Cork (County Borough and County) Traffic and Parking Temporary Rules, 1984. These rules are a modified version of traffic and parking by-laws submitted to me by the Commissioner following consultation with the local authorities concerned. Provisions for bus priority measures were not included pending further consultations with the Garda authorities and the Attorney General and these consultations are proceeding.
Mr. Wilson: Would the Minister explain the reference to the Attorney General, seeing that the regulations were introduced in Dublin? Is he saying that there is a possibility that the Dublin regulations, introduced under the task force, are ultra vires the existing laws?
Mr. Kavanagh: There are separate laws for Dublin. The bus lanes in Dublin are covered under separate regulations and the legal advice is that they are applicable to Dublin only and would not apply elsewhere.
Mr. Wilson: Would the Minister agree that the setting up of the Dublin task force and of the impending Dublin transport authority — we have not yet seen the Bill — was brought about because there were too many agencies involved in making by-laws and because it took much too long for effective implementation? Would he not agree that any large city, such as Dublin or Cork, would benefit from these bus lanes?
Mr. Kavanagh: The bus lanes have proved of great benefit to the city of Dublin in relation to the movement of  traffic, particularly bus traffic. On occasion I see other users of the bus lanes but nevertheless the bus lanes have proved to be of great benefit. I would like to see them in cities like Cork but at present the regulations cover Dublin only. With the urgency of introducing by-laws for Cork, it was not possible to introduce regulations which would have included bus lanes for the Cork area.
Mr. Wilson: Is the Minister saying that the Garda authorities were responsible for this not being included in the Cork by-laws? I put down the question to the Minister for Justice but it was transferred to the Minister for the Environment.
Mr. Kavanagh: I am not saying that. I am saying that if bus lanes were applied in Cork under the regulations recently approved, they would not be legal and no action could be taken against drivers of vehicles other than buses which would use these bus lanes. The situation in Dublin is different because of the 1968 Act which included specifically rules concerning the bus lanes. That is the problem at the moment.
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