Saturday 24 February 2018

To best serve his early risers, new Taoiseach must wake up to public transport needs

Rush hour on the M50 Photo: Arthur Carron
Rush hour on the M50 Photo: Arthur Carron
David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Allegedly, the next election and the one after that and the one after that will be fought for the hearts and minds of the "people who get up early in the morning". Therefore, the battleground is a massive geographical arc of new estates and houses stretching from on the coast at Drogheda out west to Mullingar, down to Portlaoise, sweeping down to Carlow and then finishing up at the sea again in Arklow. This is where alarms go off well before six-thirty in the morning. For these commuters, RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland' is in reality 'mid-Morning Ireland' because they are up and out well before 7am.

The election will be about women because women who have just had their first babies will determine who wins this battle. This the result of the fact that mothers who are going back to work after having kids, are on the commuting road in huge numbers. According to the census, the greatest increase in employment in the past five years was seen in women aged 35 to 44.

The census reveals that this huge demographic radius is Ireland's baby belt. The buckle of the baby belt used to be Naas, now it's Portlaoise. Every five years or so, the buckle of Ireland's baby belt loosens a notch or two, easing itself out a dozen miles or so into what used to be rural Ireland. As the arc grows bigger, its circumference maps our outer 'Communterville'.

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