Gridlocked Taoiseach takes 75 minutes to get to work
Leo Varadkar says Dublin traffic chaos not linked to Luas but the booming economy
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “I was 75 minutes this morning. It was particularly bad this morning.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Traffic in Dublin was so bad on Tuesday it took Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 75 minutes to get to work, the Dáil heard.
Mr Varadkar who lives in the Castleknock area of west Dublin said he agreed with his constituency colleague Labour TD Joan Burton, who described the Dublin city centre traffic situation as “just chaos”.
Ms Burton said the “centre of our capital city is completely gridlocked every morning and thousands of people are half an hour to an hour late for work every day”.
She was regularly using the bus “just to see if there is any improvement”.
“The drivers are beyond their wits’ end. It is just chaos on the main streets of our capital city,” she said.
In sharp criticism of Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Ms Burton said “We seek him here, we seek him there but he doesn’t seem to be anywhere.”
Ross on a bus
She asked the Taoiseach: “Could you find the Minister for Transport and could you put him on a tram or a bus or get him to walk. I don’t care which he does – get on a bus and feel the frustration of the staff and particularly of the passengers.”
Urging the Taoiseach to take measures for a properly interconnected transport system, she warned that the longer Luas tram carriages that had been ordered would arrive late, in March, and would worsen the situation.
“At that point the whole of the central area will close down in terms of the tram,” she said.
Mr Varadkar said: “I very much agree with Deputy Burton on the traffic. I was 75 minutes this morning. It was particularly bad this morning. It wasn’t that bad last week. I’m not sure it’s down to the Luas.”
He said additional carriages would come on stream in March.
“I think a lot if actually has to do with the fact that the economy has bounced back so much, is recovering, is now expanding and there are more and more people working,” he said. “That is going to require a lot more investment in public transport, particularly in the city of Dublin, and we intend to do exactly that.”