Submission on the draft Tipperary County Council Climate Action Plan 2024-2029

Our greenhouse gas emissions in Tipperary are staggeringly high. We have higher per capita emissions than any other country in the EU, higher than China, Russia and the USA. If Tipperary were a country, our per capita emissions would be one of the highest in the world, ranking alongside the worst-polluting petrostates:

Country Per capita emissions (tonnes/person 2018)
Kuwait 31.34
United Arab Emirates 29.03
Kazakhstan 23.33
Co. Tipperary 22.09
Saudi Arabia 21.81
USA 18.88
Estonia (highest in EU) 17.36
Russia 15.96
Ireland 11.26
Germany 9.98
China 8.74
EU-27 8.19
Africa (whole continent) 3.62

Country data from Our World in Data and includes LULUCF. Co. Tipperary per capita emissions derived by dividing the total emissions (3 703 400 tonnes) by the preliminary population for 2022 noted in the draft Climate Action Plan (167 661).

The publishing of total emissions for County Tipperary in the draft Climate Action Plan is welcome, however it is difficult to understand the figure of total emissions of 3,703.4 kt of CO2eq (the unit of kilotonnes is missing from page 32) without providing some context. I would like to suggest that some more context is given in the final version of the plan, possibly with international comparisons like in the table above, illustrating that if the rest of the world was as polluting as our county, the world would have a few short decades left before most of it became inhabitable.


The 7,404 farms in Co. Tipperary (CSO, 2022) are the source of 1,849 kilotonnes of CO2eq emissions. 90% of Irish beef and dairy produce is exported. I would like to suggest that actions be developed with the Local Enterprise Office and other agencies to support greater value-added processes in Tipperary, perhaps following the success of products such as Cashel Blue cheese, to encourage a shift away from exporting internationally-traded commodity products such as Skimmed Milk Powder, and towards a more premium product that can potentially provide a better return to farmers. There are currently over 100 organic farms in Tipperary (Farmers Journal) and I would like to suggest that a market development programme for organic produce be developed in the county to help existing organic farmers to find a market for their produce which may also encourage conventional farms to convert to organic (and which would result in a reduction in agriculture emissions due to lower stocking rates on organic farms).


Tipperary County Council is the roads authority for all public non-national roads in the county, in addition all the permissions for the recent expansions of the national road network in the county – for example the M7, M8, N24 and N52 – were applied for by Tipperary County Council and its predecessors, despite being funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and predecessor agencies.

The Environmental Impact Statements for the major road schemes in the county presented by the Council all showed a ‘steady state’ volume of traffic, the new roads schemes, many of which bypassed towns, were predicted to simply divert traffic away from the towns with little or no net increase in traffic. Unfortunately this did not turn out to be the case and volumes have significantly increased on the road network, especially on motorways, far in excess of national roads elsewhere in the country that did not see improvements. This has been a contributor to the rise in transport emissions in Tipperary.

I would like to suggest that an action be added to the Climate Action Plan that Tipperary County Council perform a retrospective evaluation of all major road schemes developed in the name of the council over the past few decades, including the road schemes mentioned above, to evaluate the climate impact of these schemes (by comparing the increase in traffic volumes along the corridor of the schemes with other national roads elsewhere in the country that were unimproved), which appears to have been significantly underestimated in the Environmental Impact Statements produced by Tipperary County Council in ‘support’ of the schemes. Such a retrospective evaluation could improve future Environmental Impact Statements and better inform the development of future road programmes. An example of such an evaluation on the carbon impact of new road schemes in the UK is available from Transport for Quality of Life (PDF).

I would also like to suggest that a fresh analysis of the induced demand potential of all road schemes proposed in the county development plan and local area plans be performed to evaluate the negative climate impact of facilitating more traffic in the county, preferably assisted by the analysis suggested above. Recent urban traffic schemes, for example the recent Section 38 permission obtained by Tipperary County Council to expand capacity for private cars in the centre of Nenagh with a two-lane one-way system was not published with any analysis of traffic or emissions impact, and suggestions in the public consultation process to change the scheme to allocate space for more sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling were not taken up.

Finally, I would like to suggest an amendment to the action on transport hubs: to change the wording from Support the delivery of an ‘Integrated Transport Hub’ in the Key Towns of Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles to incorporate and support multi-modal services… to Support the delivery of an ‘Integrated Transport Hub’ in the Key Towns of Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles to incorporate and support multi-modal services while supporting the maintaining of the existing public transport stops in the centre of these townsin order to make sure that current and prospective public transport users are not inconvenienced by the moving of bus stops to more peripheral locations to facilitate private car traffic, as has recently been proposed in Nenagh.

While I think there are other areas worthy of inclusion in the Climate Action Plan, in particular around settlement patterns and one-off housing and the greater facilitation of solar and onshore wind, the main point I would like to make is that there is a lack of urgency in the draft. This year the World Health Organisation said that Life-threatening hunger caused by climate shocks, violent insecurity and disease in the Horn of Africa, have left nearly 130,000 people “looking death in the eyes” and nearly 50 million facing crisis levels of food insecurity. We need to acknowledge that Tipperary is contributing to the problem of climate change far in excess of Irish, European and global norms and we need to take real action to reverse some of our mistakes and to take responsibility as a wealthy and prosperous county to right some of the wrongs we are inflicting on the world.

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the draft climate action plan. This submission is made on a personal basis and does not represent the views of any other organisation, including my employer.

Nenagh Local Area Plan and Local Transport Plan submission

Local Area Plan

I have a general comment about the pattern of development of Nenagh, and that is that the focus of development in Nenagh appears to be at the edge of the town. Recent housing developments in Drummin Village and the Fiserv building on the Limerick Road are two examples of recent developments that, while welcome from the perspective of housing and employment respectively, are located quite a distance from the town centre and are designed to be primarily accessed by private car. The traditional layout of Nenagh is compact and sustainable, but these recent developments have served to undermine this. I worry that the pattern of zoned lands in the Local Area Plan will continue to support sprawl at the edge of town, especially as Greenfield development will be cheaper for property developers than building on any of the brownfield sites identified in the Local Area Plan.

A recent local newspaper article about the proposed digital hub on the Rialto cinema site quoted a local authority official saying “It had been planned for Stereame but that had been shot down by the Department as it was not town centre”. The bias towards out-of-town development has worrying implications for the future sustainability of the town and goes against many national, regional and county-level policies on consolidating our town centres and the principle of compact growth. I do not know what specific measure in the Local Area Plan could help counteract this bias, but perhaps it would be helpful to engage with local authority officials who view locations like Stereame as suitable for digital hubs and software development companies, to see what guidance would encourage them to site (and encourage others to site) such developments in the town centre. Certainly the descriptions of the Stereame and Lisbunny sites in the Local Area Plan leave the reader with the impression that the development of large-scale employment is not encouraged within the town centre (or in locations where employees could comfortably walk into town on their lunch break), notwithstanding the principle stated that new offices should have easy employee access.

A lot of land in Nenagh is given over to car parking, both on-street and off-street. I would like to propose a specific opportunity site in the Kenyon St car park. The car park already has recently-built commercial units at its far end, and replacing the car parking with a mixed housing/employment development, with additional permeability for active travel towards Silver St and Stafford St, would be a positive development for the town. Any need for more parking displaced by the closure of Kenyon St car park could be accommodate on sites further out of town.

Local Transport Plan

It is difficult to see the rationale for the “Nenagh Traffic Management Plan” which was submitted as a Section 38 development four months before the Local Transport Plan was released. No traffic modelling, road safety audit, or any other narrative document was made available with this traffic management plan, it was just a set of drawings. The Local Transport Plan just seems to accept the introduction of this plan, accompanied by a statement “Over the longer term horizon of the LTP, further enhancements to the proposed one-way system may be feasible through reallocation of road space for public realm upgrades and further provision for active modes”, which is a relatively weak commitment compared to other measures proposed in the plan.

The problem with this traffic management plan is that it creates a severance in the middle of Nenagh for active travel users. Some footpaths covered by this management plan will be under the DMURS minimum of 1.8m in width, and cyclists will have to navigate dangerous two-lane one-way streets. I live on Sarsfield Street, we have two boys aged 7 and 10. The new traffic management plan will negatively impact on our ability to encourage independent mobility for these kids. For example, I take the 7 year-old to swimming lessons in the council swimming pool by the town park. We were just getting to the stage where we were able to cycle on the road for part of the journey to the pool. I don’t think it will be safe for me to cycle with him in the new layout: we would be forced to try and navigate two lanes of cars going the same direction, with no facilities at all to help him make his journey through the town centre. Equally I was hoping that it would be possible for the boys to cycle themselves to the train station in the future: that journey will be made much less safe as a result of the traffic management plan, and may prevent them making this journey at all.

Furthermore, the aim of the Nenagh Traffic Management Plan is stated in the Transport Plan to “reduce congestion” which is another way of saying “increase capacity for the private car”. I don’t believe this is compatible with the national, regional and county-level commitments to reduce emissions and reduce dependency on the private car.

I would like to suggest a new measure to try and ensure that the redesign of this facility is encouraged as a priority:

ATx: Priority reallocation of road space on the new Nenagh Traffic Management Plan towards active modes to provide safe segregated routes for active travel users and to mitigate against the increased capacity for private cars being introduced in the town centre.

Active travel network

Aside from the severance in the town centre caused by the Nenagh Traffic Management Plan, I would like to welcome the active travel network proposed. If implemented over the period of the plan it would have a positive effect on the town, especially for the 1 in 5 households in Nenagh who do not own a car (Census 2016). Some of the visualisations in the Plan are excellent with bevelled entrance kerbs and no height change for pedestrians and cyclists crossing side entrances. It might be worth incorporating these design elements as a specific action for any new measures built, to avoid the usual ‘dipping’ of footpaths at side entrances and severance of cycle facilities at junctions.

Public transport network

The transport plan does not propose to remove the town centre bus stops and I would like to welcome this measure. The narrative in local media from council meetings quoting local authority officials that I have read emphasised that buses were getting in the way of cars. I never saw any discussion reported on how more people can be encouraged to use public transport. I have reservations about the proposed mobility hub, in light of the above, but as long as buses are stopping in the middle of town where services are accessible to more people, some additional rail/bus integration may be helpful.


The proposed roads do not seem to meet the criteria for new roads outlined in the local transport plan. I could not see any specific mitigating measures being proposed that would counteract the induced demand for more traffic as a result of such schemes. I would support the HGV ban, although I do not see the building of additional roads as necessary to facilitate this ban.

For sale: 2014 Nissan Leaf in Tipperary, 53k km, 24 kWh, 12/12 battery bars

I’m selling my mum’s Nissan Leaf, she has bought a new EV.

Very low mileage and still has all 12/12 battery health bars. Indicated range 140km, dependent on driving style and temperature. I own a Leaf myself and I’m happy to advise if the range is suitable for the type of trips you make.

a white Nissan Leaf car

It’s a great car, ridiculously cheap to run and utterly reliable, so good I bought Leaf of my own a year after my mum bought hers!

  • NCT 01/25
  • Tax 09/23
  • Main dealer serviced 03/23
  • Consumption meter shows average electricity consumption of 14.1 kWh/100km – that’s €3.04 per 100km on Electric Ireland’s current night electricity plan if you charge it overnight

Dashboard of a Nissan Leaf, showing 99% battery charge, 142km indicated range, and 12/12 battery health indicators


  • Reversing camera
  • USB Aux
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise control/speed limiter
  • Air conditioning
  • CHAdeMO DC fast charging port
  • Type 2 cable for use with public chargers
  • ‘Granny’ cable for plugging into the mains for slow charging


  • Handbrake can rub for the first few km if it hasn’t been driven in a while
  • Outer plastic on driver’s door handle can become loose (doesn’t affect ability to open door)
  • A few paint cuffs on the driver’s side (pictured)

If you have a driveway in your home you will qualify for a SEAI grant of up to €600 for a home charger:

Front of a white Nissan Leaf Rear quarter of a white Nissan Leaf Rear of a white Nissan Leaf Boot of a Nissan Leaf, showing Type 2 cable and granny cable Rear seats of a Nissan Leaf Dealer sticker from Pat Tiernan Motors, showing next service 03/24 Tax and NCT discs, tax expiring Sept 2023, NCT expiring January 2025 Touch screen interface of Nissan Leaf Cockpit of a Nissan Leaf Front wheel of a Nissan Leaf

A rail fares calculator to examine the National Fares Strategy

The National Transport Authority released a National Fares Strategy summary document on 27 April 2023, which indicates the approach that will be taken to calculating fares for rail and bus services outside the Dublin metropolitan area in the future. Fares will be calculated according to a simple formula:

Fare = Boarding Charge + Distance [as the crow flies] Based Fare

To help illustrate this, I’ve put together a calculator for intercity rail journeys. You can change the value for the boarding charge and the distance based fare and see how fares compare to the existing cash fare. Fares are taken from the Rail Users Ireland Irish Rail Fare Calculator and represent the maximum fare payable: cheaper fares are often available online and the National Fares Strategy document has indicated that this will continue to be the case. Distances (as crow flies) from the Google Maps API.

To be clear I have no insight into what the boarding charge or distance based fare will be, and the defaults here are chosen fairly randomly. I just thought it’d be interesting to put together a tool to illustrate what the potential impact on specific journeys would be.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like more journey pairs added to the table or if you see any errors.

Change the values and hit recalculate to see updated new fares and % change in the table below:

Boarding charge (in cent):

Distance based fare (cent per km [as crow flies]):

From To km Old New %
Limerick Dublin 173 €38.25
Cork Dublin 217 €47.35
Galway Dublin 183 €29.30
Waterford Dublin 132 €26.15
Kilkenny Dublin 99 €20.80
Athlone Dublin 109 €20.80
Sligo Dublin 176 €31.85
Tralee Dublin 258 €49.45
Wexford Dublin 112 €25.05
Dundalk Dublin 73 €17.20
Nenagh Dublin 137 €24.75
Cahir Dublin 153 €29.30
Ballina Dublin 206 €33.30
Nenagh Cork 108 €28.30
Nenagh Limerick 36 €10.45
Clonmel Waterford 40 €10.45
Ennis Limerick 31 €9.10
Ennis Galway 48 €15.75
Limerick Galway 74 €18.40
Cork Limerick 84 €20.05
Claremorris Ballina 44 €11.20
Dundalk Drogheda 32 €9.10
Limerick Junction Limerick 33 €9.10
Athenry Galway 20 €6.55
Charleville Cork 51 €13.55
Carrick On Shannon Sligo 44 €13.20
Kilkenny Waterford 43 €11.20
Enniscorthy Wexford 19 €6.55
Killarney Tralee 27 €9.10
Tullamore Athlone 33 €8.35
Carlow Kilkenny 29 €10.45

Submission on the Proposed Traffic Calming Measures on Pearse Street, Mitchel Street, Emmet Place, Kickham Street and Silver Street, Nenagh

Link to scheme proposal; deadline for submissions Wed, 26/04/2023 – 16:30

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the Proposed Traffic Calming Measures on Pearse Street, Mitchel Street, Emmet Place, Kickham Street and Silver Street, Nenagh, which I make in a personal capacity.

I would like to welcome the proposed raised zebra crossings as part of this scheme. I believe their introduction will result in an improved walking environment in the centre of Nenagh. As a compact thriving town which has the potential to grow and thrive over the period of the new County Development Plan Nenagh has an exciting future ahead of it and the focus on the four streets that serve as the central circulation route for people who walk, cycle, take public transport and drive through Nenagh is welcome. Unfortunately there was no rationale provided for this scheme, only a series of drawings; and any plans proposed under previous County Development Plans to change traffic circulation in Nenagh are no longer available online to the public. I have some reservations about the increase in capacity for private vehicles in the centre of Nenagh that will result from this scheme, and the compatibility of this scheme with statutory plans, which I have detailed below.

Premature introduction of this scheme ahead of Nenagh Local Transport Plan

I took part in the survey last year, which invited input ahead of “delivery of a Local Transport Plan for Nenagh will identify the key infrastructural requirements of the Town and prioritise the transport interventions required in the plan area as the Town grows and develops over the next 10 years”. At the time of the consultation last year, there was a commitment to publish a draft Local Transport Plan for Nenagh later in 2022. While I understand that the publication of the draft plan has been delayed, I suggest that this scheme is premature as it will define private vehicle traffic flows through the centre of Nenagh. Pausing this scheme to take account of an agreed Local Transport Plan, as recommended in the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region, would allow any scheme to change traffic flows in the centre of Nenagh (which have been unchanged since Kickham Street was the main road for traffic from Limerick, Clare, Kerry and North Tipperary to Dublin) to be supported by best practice and the provisions of the County Development Plan.

Compatibility with Tipperary County Development Plan 2022-2028

Modal shift targets [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (a)]

(a) Support the achievement of the modal shift targets set out in Table 12.1 Modal Share Targets to apply to Tipperary, and require new development to demonstrate and ensure that land-use, connectivity and transportation are integrated in a manner which reduces reliance on car-based travel, promotes more sustainable transport choice, and co-ordinates particular land uses with their accessibility requirements.

It is not clear how this scheme is compatible with the latest adopted Development Plan for County Tipperary. The scheme will result in an increase in capacity for vehicles travelling through Nenagh town centre, and there is no provision for cycle facilities in the scheme. This appears to be in conflict with the modal shift target in Table 12.1 of the Development Plan which seeks to reduce the modal share of trips by car and van from 71% to 45% and to increase the modal share of trips by bicycle from 0.76% to 10%. Nenagh is Tipperary’s second largest town and if no provision is made for segregated cycling infrastructure in the middle of the town, it is difficult to see how this is compatible with the County Development Plan. 

Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets and National Sustainable Mobility Policy [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (b)]

(b) Apply the principles of the National Sustainable Mobility Policy (DoT, 2022), the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DTTS and DHPLG, 2019) and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets Interim Advice Note – Covid-19 Pandemic Response (2020).

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS), adopted in the development plan, specifically cautions against one-way systems like the one proposed in this scheme:

One-way streets have also been widely implemented, retrospectively, in order to filter vehicle permeability and relieve traffic congestion. The use of one-way systems for traffic management should also be approached with caution by designers as they:

  • Promote faster speeds as drivers are likely to drive faster when no risk is perceived from oncoming traffic.
  • Will result in longer vehicular journeys, including those for cyclists and public transport.
  • Can be confusing for users when they deflect people away from destinations.
  • Require additional signage.

Conversion to one-way systems may be beneficial on narrow carriageways where the street reserve is limited in order to provide additional space for pedestrians, cyclists and other public realm improvements. Counter flow cycle lanes should also be considered in order to maintain permeability for cyclists Examples include Centres where the implementation of a one-way system has direct placemaking benefits as it allows for additional footpath width and/or on-street parking (see Figure 3.24).

The proposed scheme proposes no reallocation of road space to more sustainable modes and there is no evidence that consideration has been made to provide additional space for pedestrians, cyclists and other public realm improvements. Examples exist in other local authority areas where Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act has been used to reallocate road space away from the private car towards walking and cycling.

It is a specific aim of the National Sustainability Policy to reallocate road space in urban centres away from the private car towards more sustainable modes: “rebalancing transport movement in metropolitan areas and other urban centres away from the private car and towards active travel and public transport.” It is difficult to see how the implementation of this scheme as proposed is compatible with this aim.

Integrated pedestrian and cycling networks and infrastructure [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (c)]

(c) Development proposals shall be required to provide for well-integrated pedestrian and cycling networks and infrastructure, such as cycle parking, as part of their planning application and ‘Sustainability Statement’, where applicable, the development management standards Volume 3 will apply.

The draft CycleConnects Network published by the National Transport Authority included both an interurban cycle network throughout County Tipperary and a series of urban cycle networks for towns in the county, including Nenagh. The proposed scheme includes streets that are part of the proposed network: Pearse Street and Mitchel Street are designated as primary cycle routes (in red), and Emmet Place and Kickham Street are designated as secondary cycle routes (in blue). Without cycle infrastructure on these streets which represent key destinations in the centre of Nenagh, it is difficult to see how Nenagh can support a quality cycle network as envisioned under CycleConnects and supported by the Tipperary County Development Plan.

Map of Nenagh showing primary cycle routes along Pearse Street and Mitchel Street and secondary cycle routes along Emmet Place and Kickham Street

Accessibility for people with disabilities [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (d)]

(d) To apply a ‘whole journey approach’ to make public transport fully accessible to people with disabilities’, this refers to all elements that constitute a journey from the starting point to destination including footpaths, tactile paving, cycle paths, roads, pedestrian crossing points, town greenways and bus stops/shelters in line with relevant Guidance from the Department of Transport.

The inclusion of bollards in the new proposed bus stop on Pearse Street are a cause of concern. Specifically, the bollards will restrict the approach of buses to the bus stop and in the event of obstructions or existing buses being stopped at the bus stop, may prevent low-floor buses from pulling up at the kerb in a manner that will enable the deployment of a ramp to assist people with disabilities to board or leave their bus. It is strongly recommended that these bollards are omitted from the plan as they may result in a reduction in accessibility for people using public transport to and from Nenagh.

The maintaining of the narrow footpath width on Emmet Place at less than 1.8m is below the minimum mandated by DMURS, which states that 1.8m is the minimum width necessary to allow two standard wheelchairs to pass each other. It is not clear whether there is room on Emmet Place to accommodate two lanes of traffic and cater for a minimum footpath width, never mind a greater width more appropriate for an urban centre close to many trip destinations.

BusConnects Limerick: submission on proposed bus network

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the proposed BusConnects network for Limerick City, which I am making in a personal capacity. I’d like to compliment the project team on how they have run this consultation, in particular the wide range of materials produced, the in-person and online consultation events which provided an opportunity for people to learn more and feed back their suggestions. The use of Irish Sign Language interpreters at two of the in-person events is an initiative that is particularly welcome.

I’d like to express my broad support for the BusConnects network for Limerick, the increased frequency and coverage will make Limerick a better place to live, work and receive an education. With associated infrastructural changes, this network plan provides the basis for the bus to become the main form of transport for many people across the city, instead of a last resort option taken by those who have no other choice.

Schaffhausen, Switzerland  (pop. 37k)

There is one area for improvement that I would like to highlight, and that is the lack of integration between the proposed routes, and in particular the decision to route two of the four high-frequency routes away from the main bus and rail station on Parnell Street.

I believe this arrangement is not consistent with bus networks in other small European cities with bus modal share far in excess of the modal share in Limerick. I have given three examples together with route network maps in this document.

In these examples, all significant bus routes interchange at the train station. It should be noted that in these examples the train stations are also slightly peripheral to the city centre, as is the case in Limerick.

Having all routes meet at the train station would offer interchange from and to a single bus route to:

  • Other city routes

    Map of the bus network in Dunquerque, with all routes meeting at the train station
    Dunquerque, France (pop. 87k)
  • Rural bus routes including those delivered under the National Transport Authority’s Connecting Ireland programme, which represents the largest increase in rural public transport in Ireland in decades 
  • Intercity Expressway bus routes to Cork, Galway, Waterford, Killarney, Tralee and further afield
  • Intercity train services to Dublin, Cork, Galway and Castleconnell/Birdhill/Nenagh/Cloughjordan/Roscrea

Having all routes meet at a single point would offer crucial legibility to the city bus network, where passengers could be confident that they can transfer to any route by going to a single transfer point. 

Map of the bus network in Jena, Germany
Jena, Germany (pop 111k)

The only significant Transport-Oriented Development scheme planned for Limerick City is the scheme proposed by the Land Development Agency (LDA) around Colbert station, which the LDA has estimated could produce 2,800 residential units. It is appropriate to serve such a site with all the high-frequency city bus routes given the proposed population size and density.

Serving the bus and rail station need not need a large detour for buses.  For example, changing the path of route 4 involves a very small increase in route distance as can be seen in the diagram below. If route 4 was routed via Mulgrave St and Childers Rd as the current 304 is (and which would offer greater road width for bus segregation), the route via the station would be even shorter than a route serving O’Connell St. 

Map showing alternative routes for route 4 in Limerick, with one serving the train station

In conclusion I would once again like to welcome the proposed network, and to express my support for a small tweak to routes 2 and 4 so that they could directly serve Colbert Station.

MSc in Sustainable Transport and Mobility

Three years ago, I wrote an article describing how excited I was to be starting a Masters in TU Dublin. I thought it would be interesting to review my experience after finishing the course, in the hope that it might be useful to people who were thinking of applying. I’m told there might be one or two places remaining for the January 2023 intake if you are quick (apply here).


I appreciate this is a variable factor but by far the best aspect of the course for me was working with my fellow students on the course. There was a fairly good mix of gender and age, and we were a mix of people working in the private sector, the public sector, and those of us from more diverse employment backgrounds who were coming from an activist background. Most modules contained quite a lot of group work and we quickly got to know each other well, with an active and sometimes raucous WhatsApp group discussing not only upcoming deadlines but general transport developments both in Ireland and further afield. I think we all learned a lot from each other and we’ve continued to meet semi-regularly since graduating.

Broad range of modules

The range of modules we studied was vast, ranging from the social science of behavioural change, to architecturally-related placemaking, to the sometimes challenging maths of transport modelling. It really is a well-rounded course and no matter what your academic background you will find some modules relatively familiar and others unlike anything you’ve studied before.

TU Dublin students touring Grangegorman campus

The importance of transport and mobility

During the course I was frequently reminded of how relevant our subject matter was to important and current issues in policy, which was a definite advantage for me as I was working in politics for most of my time on the course. In particular, challenges in climate, health and social equity. It felt like we were going to graduate with an awful lot of really useful tools to solve policy problems that many feel are relatively intractable.

Influential lecturers

Over the two years that I was studying on the course, at least 6 of my lecturers appeared in front of various Oireachtas committees: Lorraine D’Arcy, Dave O’Connor, Odran Reid, Suzanne Meade, Helen Murray O’Connor and Sarah Rock. I think this is evidence of the esteem that our lecturers were held by policymakers and it felt good that politicians were getting the same exposure to good practice as we were.


For many of us, the dissertation was the most challenging part of the Masters. We were all busy people with jobs and families and it was a challenge to fit in enough time for original research. I did struggle at times to keep going with my dissertation and I’m certainly grateful to Rose Anne for putting up with me as I got ever more grumpy towards the deadline, but I did submit on time, and I was fortunate enough to have a paper on my research accepted to the Irish Transport Research Network Conference (Public transport deprivation in County Limerick and the development of an effective rural public transport network – PDF), this paper was also covered on the front page of the Irish Examiner.

Summer School

Despite Covid restrictions we did get to have an in-person summer school: ours was hosted by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and it was fun to have our proposals to extend the famous Coastal Mobility Route assessed by Conor Geraghty and Robert Burns. We also had a guest input from one of the lead authors of DMURS.

Summer school in Blackrock

Should you do this course?

In a word, yes! If you care about problems that matter and don’t mind having your brain slightly melted at their complexity, this is the course for you. It’s a course that’s fundamentally about people, and it is key to solving the singular challenge of our age: the climate crisis. I’m more than happy to chat to anyone considering applying for this course (contact details here) and it has certainly changed my outlook on life.

Timetable for bus services from Killaloe/Ballina to Limerick from 23 Oct 2022

The twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina are served by the 345 service from Limerick to Scariff via Killaloe, and the 323 service from Limerick to Nenagh via the University of Limerick and Ballina.

Here is a summary timetable for travelling to/from Limerick to Killaloe by public transport. The service has expanded significantly with 12 buses each way per day Monday to Saturday, up from 3 buses each way in 2020 with no weekend service.

Monday to Saturday

Out: depart for Limerick

Return: depart Limerick Bus station

Return: depart UL
















13:12K (13:09 Sat)






16:17K (16:06 Sat)





19:22K (19:19 Sat)





K=Killaloe St. Anne’s, B=Ballina Church


Out: depart for Limerick

Return: depart Limerick Bus station

Return: depart UL



















K=Killaloe St. Anne’s, B=Ballina Church

Bus Éireann has full timetables for the 345 Scariff-Killaloe-Limerick service and the 323 Limerick-Castleconnell-Ballina-Nenagh service.

All Ballina buses serve UL, Castleconnell and Nenagh. All Killaloe buses serve O’Briensbridge and Scariff.

All buses from Limerick Bus Station to Killaloe and Ballina serve Arthur’s Quay 7-10 mins later.

Submission on Iarnród Éireann draft December 2022 timetable

I would like to suggest a new 06:00 service from Dublin Heuston to Cork Kent with a connecting service arriving at Limerick Junction from Limerick. These services would allow passengers from Dublin and Limerick to arrive in Cork before 9am.

A suggested timetable is listed below. I do not believe it would conflict with any existing or proposed train paths.

DUBLIN Heuston 06:00
Portlaoise 06:46
Thurles 07:15
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Now that we know Ireland’s 2030 emissions targets, what will our 2025 targets be?

Summary: to stay within our carbon budgets, we may need to reduce electricity emissions by as much as 16% a year, transport emissions by 9% a year, and agriculture emissions by 5% a year between 2022 and 2025 to stay within our first carbon budget. There are quite a few caveats with this data, primarily relating to LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry) emissions, detailed at the end of the post, and it is possible I have underestimated the first carbon budget by 6.5 Mt and the second carbon budget by 9.3 Mt, due to the changes in the baseline for LULUCF emissions. However I think it’s important to discuss possible emissions trajectories as early as possible in the carbon budget period if we are to be successful in staying within that budget.

On Thursday 28th July, the government announced sectoral emissions targets for 2030. Essentially these are the emissions each sector will need to emit in 2030 if we are to stay within the two carbon budgets to 2030 adopted by the Oireachtas.

Although the 2025 targets (end of the first carbon budget period) and the actual sectoral emissions ceilings were not announced last week, enough information was provided to enable a prediction of what the 2025 targets will be and how much we will need to reduce emissions in each sector each year.

Here’s the summary table for the period of the first carbon budget 2021-2025 (which we’re already in the middle of)

2025 targets

Sector 2021 2025 target % reduction 2022-5 (4 yrs) Annual % reduction 22-25 (4 yrs)
Electricity 10.27 5.3 48% 16%
Transport 10.91 7.5 31% 9%
Non res bldgs 1.48 1.2 21% 6%
Res bldgs 7.04 5.0 29% 9%
Industry 7.05 5.0 30% 9%
Agri 23.10 19.1 17% 5%
Other 1.67 1.2 26% 8%
LULUCF* 7.77 4.4 43% 14%
Other savings
Total 69.29 48.7 30% 9%

And here’s the second carbon budget period 2026-2030.

2030 targets

Sector 2025 Mt CO2e 2030 target % reduction 2025-30 (5 yrs) Annual % reduction 2026-30 (5yrs)
Electricity 5.3 3 44% 12%
Transport 7.5 6 20% 5%
Non res bldgs 1.2 1 15% 3%
Res bldgs 5.0 4 19% 4%
Industry 5.0 4 19% 4%
Agri 19.1 17.24 10% 2%
Other 1.2 1 19% 4%
LULUCF* 4.4 4.0 10% 2%
Other savings -5.7 18%
Total 48.7 31.54 29% 7%

And here are two larger tables showing actual emissions values for each year, and the totals for each carbon budget

First carbon budget 2021-2025

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 Sectoral emissions ceiling % share of carbon budget
Electricity 10.27 9.0 7.8 6.6 5.3 39.0 13%
Transport 10.91 10.1 9.2 8.4 7.5 46.1 16%
Non res bldgs 1.48 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.2 6.6 2%
Res bldgs 7.04 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 30.0 10%
Industry 7.05 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 30.0 10%
Agri 23.10 22.1 21.1 20.1 19.1 105.5 36%
Other 1.67 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.2 7.2 2%
LULUCF* 7.77 6.9 6.1 5.3 4.4 30.5 10%
Other savings 0.0 0%
Total 69.29 64.1 59.0 53.9 48.7 295.0

Second carbon budget 2026-2030

2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 Sectoral emissions ceiling % share of carbon budget
Electricity 4.9 4.4 3.9 3.5 3.0 19.7 10%
Transport 7.2 6.9 6.6 6.3 6.0 33.1 17%
Non res bldgs 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.0 5.3 3%
Res bldgs 4.8 4.6 4.4 4.2 4.0 21.9 11%
Industry 4.8 4.6 4.4 4.2 4.0 21.9 11%
Agri 18.7 18.4 18.0 17.6 17.2 89.9 45%
Other 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.0 5.5 3%
LULUCF* 4.3 4.3 4.2 4.1 4.0 20.9 10%
Other savings -1.7 -2.6 -3.6 -4.6 -5.7 -18.2 -9%
Total 45.3 42.7 40.0 37.4 34.5 200.0

I don’t want to provide too much commentary and rather focus on providing data here but in case it isn’t obvious, the reason why the percentage annual reductions need to be higher in the first carbon budget period is because we’ve already had (provisional) results from the first year in the budget, these results showed emissions in most sectors going up over the previous year, so we need to make higher reductions in four years to make up the average needed over the five year budget.

How these values were extrapolated

1. LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry)

The government announcement said that “Finalising the Sectoral Emissions Ceiling for the Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector has been deferred for 18 months to allow for the completion of the Land-Use Strategy” however the announcement provided for the 2030 targets for all other sectors plus an unallocated 5.7 Mt of savings, so a simple subtraction against 34.5 Mt (representing a 51% reduction over 2018) total emissions reveals a total of 4.0 Mt remaining for LULUCF in 2030. It should be noted that the starting figure for LULUCF in 2018 is 6.8 Mt under AR5 according to the EPA, 2 tonnes more than the 4.8 Mt net LULUCF used in the climate change advisory council carbon budgets document (which was also applied using AR5 multipliers, it is not clear where the differences arise).

2. Straight line reductions from 2021 to 2030

The first pass involved a straight line reduction in each sector to 2030, reducing by the same amount every year, and the unallocated savings also increasing in a straight line between 2026 and 2030.

3. Application of the first carbon budget

Adding up the total emissions from each sector for the first carbon budget 2021-25, showed that the straight line approach was resulting in total emissions of 312.9 Mt, nearly 18 Mt over our first carbon budget amount of 295 Mt. To stay within carbon budget, the 2025 targets were revised down proportionally and then a straight line reduction was made between 2021 and 2025. The 2025 targets were reduced until the total emissions 2021-5 were 295 Mt, the total allowable carbon budget.

4. Application of the second carbon budget

Straight line reductions between the new 2025 targets and 2030 showed that we were now slightly under budget for the second carbon budget, at 197.8 Mt instead of 200 Mt. To provide a rough reduction I just reduced the unallocated savings from 2026 to 2029. This could have been smoothed out better.

5. Caveats

These figures are a prediction. The shape of emissions reductions within each carbon budget period could be different to what is presented. Also it may well be that different sectors perform differently between carbon budgets: for example electricity might proportionally reduce more over the first budget, and transport over the second, or vice versa. Some sectors will experience a rise in emissions before a fall.

LULUCF is the greatest source of uncertainty, given the significant change in the 2018 baseline between the carbon budgets technical document and the latest EPA inventories. It should be noted that the carbon budgets technical report gave the first carbon budget total excluding LULUCF as 271 Mt, my figures give a total of 264.5 Mt for the same period, a difference of 6.5 Mt. For the second carbon budget my figures excluding LULUCF give 197.3 Mt, the carbon budgets a figure of 188 Mt, a difference of 9.3 Mt.

I may have well made some arithmetic or transcription errors, feedback welcome. All figures are taken from either the government’s statement on 28th July or the EPA’s provisional 2021 emissions figures: in other words all numbers and assumptions are from public data. Inconsistencies in number precision are because I took figures from the government publication first, then backfilled missing data from the EPA national inventories. All numbers are on an AR5 basis. Full LULUCF has been included. I’m happy to email the spreadsheet to anyone who wants it.