ACTIVISTS blocked off a section of Lower Liffey Street last weekend, saying it was a “clean-air zone” as part of a campaign to pedestrianise more areas of Dublin City.
The occupation was organised as part of the Streets Are for People movement, which involves members of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, Dublin Commuter Coalition, the Irish Pedestrian Network and Extinction Rebellion.
Green Party Councillor Neasa Hourigan, one of the organisers of the event, said there was already a proposal before Dublin City Council to pedestrianise this section of the street. The council is due to vote on the proposal.
“There’s only 1,000 cars that go down this street every day,” she said.
prime area to carve out for some kind of low emissions zone
“It would be a prime area to carve out for some kind of low emissions zone so that people with kids, people who want to go have a sandwich, have safe climate-friendly place to be.”
In July, the same activists blocked off Dublin’s South William Street from traffic, a day Cllr Hourigan described as “hugely successful”.
She said the groups planned to occupy a number of other streets across the city in the future as part of the campaign.
“We’re not trying to close down the city to all cars, we’re just trying to show what’s possible and show what spaces should be pedestrianised, should be better for people and more accessible – places to rest, places that are just that bit further away from congestion,” she said.
The protests followed a report from the Environmental Protection Agency which revealed that air pollution in Dublin represents a possible public health risk and regularly exceeds levels deemed safe by the European Union.
“We are extremely concerned about the toxic levels of air pollution being created by motor vehicles on a daily basis,” Janet Horner of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said. “Poisonous air harms all of us, but particularly the most vulnerable,” she said.