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Labour blocks bid to reverse 30kph city limit

DUBLIN city centre's divisive new 30kph speed limit is set to remain after efforts to reverse the move fell flat at last night's city council meeting.

Councillors voted down two opposing proposals put forward at last night's meeting concerning the future of the limit which came into force on January 31.

This leaves the current speed limit of 30kph in core city centre areas intact until at least July of this year when it can be reviewed once again.

Following criticism from Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, who described the measure as "impractical", the Labour Party members of the city council tabled a motion to amend the 30kph zone so that much of the Quays, Winetavern St and Kildare St would be given the regular city centre 50kph speed limit.

Labour Party councillor Andrew Montague, who is head of the council's transport committee, said: "There is a limit to the road space in our city. If everybody tries to make a journey via car, we are going to have gridlock. It's pretty clear that if the 30kph gets people to walk, cycle and use public transport then it is also good for motorists."

Fine Gael councillor Bill Tormey, although his party has a voting partnership with the Labour Party on the council, took the opposite view. He tabled a motion calling for the council to abandon the speed limit completely.

He told the chamber: "My argument is that it is highly inappropriate to put a 30kph speed limit along the Quays. It is an oppressive imposition."

The Labour Party motion received 22 votes in favour and 20 against. Councillor Bill Tormey's motion received 12 votes in favour and 28 against. Both motions failed to reach the 26 votes needed to be passed by the council.

Members of the Fianna Fail party accused Fine Gael and Labour of taking a "knee jerk reaction" to media criticism of the move.

Fianna Fail councillor Jim O'Callaghan said: "The integrity of this council is at stake. We made a decision one month ago and now because of a few minor celebrities on the radio we are rushing to change it.

"If Fine Gael and Labour, who run this council, can't handle a bit of negative publicity over a speed limit in Dublin city centre, God help them if they ever get into government."

The 30kph speed limit was overwhelmingly supported by the council when it was introduced last October with just three members of the 52 member council voting against it.