Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said his department will be strengthening the legal powers of local authorities, enabling them to create more new cycle paths and bus lanes.

The Minister for Transport said he will bring forward an amendment to an existing bill which would give much greater clarity to the area.

He said this would also allow councils to do experimental measures and evaluate their performance after 18 months.

"We will give real power back to councillors to make decisions on what are very difficult, challenging and vital things to do."

In July, the High Court upheld a legal challenge to a new trial cycle path in Sandymount in Dublin, saying the measure needed to go through the planning process.

Mr Ryan said they would examine that judgment to address any of the missing gaps that were identified.

The amendment will be brought forward at the committee stage of the Road Transport Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, which will also regulate e-scooters.

He was speaking on the second day of the party's think in at Airfield in Dundrum, when ministers were also asked about potential Government backing for a bid to bring the Americas Cup to Cork in 2024.

Both Mr Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin emphasised that careful consideration would have to be given on whether the event would be worth the upfront outlay from the state. This has been estimated at €150 million.

Ms Martin said her Tourism Department has been looking at the "economics and deliverability" of Cork hosting the event.

She said consultants had been engaged to provide a cost benefit analysis.

Mr Ryan said it was appropriate that "we look hard now and get some of that analysis and assess the pluses and minuses".

Both denied there was disagreement within the party on the question of backing the bid.


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