Dáil hears of an ‘embarrassment of cars’ parked around Leinster House

Taoiseach says he would like a wildflower meadow to be developed outside Government Buildings

Photograph: Alan Betson, Irish Times Staff Photographer.

 Leinster House
Photo taken on 28/3/07

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would like a wild flower meadow to be developed on the green area outside Government Buildings as has been done at the front of Trinity College.

Mr Varadkar said while the move wouldn’t “change the world or change the environment” it would make a “good statement”.

The Taoiseach was responding to a number of TDs in the Dáil on Wednesday, regarding his department’s resource-efficiency action plan.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik said there was “an embarrassment of cars parked everywhere around the Leinster House campus” and called for covered bicycle-parking facilities.


The Dublin Bay South TD said Peter Kyle, the shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, visited Leinster House on Monday and there was “a large SUV parked right in front of the front door of Leinster House”.

Ms Bacik said the front door should be a “flagship area” where people, including visiting dignitaries, come to get their photographs taken.

“It is unacceptable and it is embarrassing that we still have not achieved visible, bicycle-friendly parking facilities in our Houses of Parliament,” she said.

Mr Varadkar said an electric vehicle charger has been in place in Government Buildings for “quite some time” while there are two covered bike racks.

He said in his previous role at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, “we put bees on the roof to produce our own honey and have plans to put solar on the roof as well”.

“I would like us to do the same in Government Buildings. It is a big roof space, I have been up there,” he said.

“There is an old helipad from the past that is no longer used, that would be great for solar, bees and pollinators. This is something I am working on at the moment but, again, it needs the approval of my Secretary General and the OPW for that to be done.

“The other thing I would like to do is at least experiment with rewilding or allowing a wild flower meadow to develop on the green area outside of Government Buildings, like has been done outside Trinity College.

“It is not going to change the world or change the environment or make a huge difference in terms of biodiversity or emissions but I think it would be a good statement and it is something I am working on to green our building.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times