Sunday 20 October 2019

'The whole world has been coming at me' - Eamon Ryan 'regrets' comments about car pooling in rural Ireland

The Green Party leader suggested earlier this week that people in rural Ireland should use car pooling to reduce car usage

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Gabija Gataveckaite

Green party leader Eamon Ryan has said that he regrets the comments he made suggesting car pooling in rural Ireland earlier this week.

Earlier this week, the Dublin Bay South TD came under fire when he made comments about car pooling in rural Ireland, saying that a village of 300 people could operate on 30 cars with car pooling schemes.

The Green Party has since released a statement clarifying the TD's comments and speaking on this morning's Newstalk Breakfast programme, he said that he regrets suggesting the scheme and said that he has faced a lot of backlash.

"I regret completely in terms of, because it’s taken off like a mad thing, maybe I should shut up and never say anything, but I still do believe that the people in rural Ireland and urban Ireland might benefit from these new solutions," he said.

The Dublin South Bay TD clarified the comments he made earlier this week, saying that he never said that people living in rural Ireland should get rid of their cars.

"I did not mean in any way to tell people what they could be doing, but what I do believe in helping them play their part, we should make sure that they don't miss out on their public transport solution," he said.

Also speaking on the programme was Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae, who said that Deputy Ryan's comments were out of touch with reality.

"If I had said, 'We'd be banning cars and people wouldn't be allowed to have a car and they'd have to walk', then I'd be joining [Michael Healy-Rae] in saying, ‘have you lost your mind?’" said Deputy Ryan.

"But I never said that," he insisted.

"I didn't say that [a village of 300 people] just needs 30 cars, we were having a conversation about car sharing.

"And I said, I thought it was part of the way forward, which I think it is, it's happening in some parts of the world."

He said that the "world has been coming" at him since he made the initial comments.

"I've spent the last three days, fighting like, the whole world coming at me saying 'You're mad and you hate rural Ireland' and actually, it's not true.

"It’s about actually wanting to make sure that rural Ireland do have options and are able to get choices and bringing life back into our villages and towns," he added.

However, Deputy Healy-Rae was not convinced.

"I'm very clear on what Eamon Ryan said. What he's doing this morning is speaking gobbeldy-gook, political gobbeldy-gook, becuase the people that are advising him have told him that he has made a monumental mistake," the Kerry TD said.

"We don't need Eamon Ryan telling us, people that are struggling in rural areas, 'Well lads, forget about your cars, walk down to the villages, because I'm so worried about the environment, I'm going to protect it by making ye walk from your house that might be four miles on a winters morning'," he added.

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