February 2004 Archives


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Yesterday's headline to the article about Luas - Studies show that Luas makes economic sense - made me see red (ink) as it made no reference to the expectation that the capital cost of Luas could exceed €750m - equivalent to about twelve times Dublin Bus's annual subsidy.

A few basic assumptions can be used to illustrate the economic nonsense of Luas. Let us assume that it carries about 30,000 passengers a day (versus 500,000 for Dublin Bus and 90,000 for the DART); that interest and depreciation rates each run at 4% a year; that the invested capital is repaid over 25 years; and that a fare of about €1.50 per trip covers all operating and related costs etc. On this basis, the real cost of a Luas ticket is about €8.60, over five times the proposed fare! How does this make economic sense (except to the tiny minority that will use the service)? On this basis, it would be cheaper to give free taxi and bus vouchers to all prospective LUAS users for decades to come.

Once again, our policy makers have lost the plot. No amount of spinning, huffing and puffing will ever justify Luas. As a massive "white elephant", Luas should have been scrapped. The funds could have been used to provide more buses and a larger subsidy to Dublin Bus to benefit of ALL commuters in Dublin instead of just a tiny minority.


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We have been assured that e-voting is simple, fast, accurate and inexpensive. On this basis, I request that the option "None of the above" be appended to all lists of candidates. Also, an election should be rerun in any constituency where the actual poll, excluding votes for "None of the above", is less than 50% of the total eligible to vote there.

On a related point, the only people who seem to be pushing e-Voting are Minister Cullen and TDs. Given that we have a perfectly good paper-based system at present, will the Minister undertake to resign without argument or delay if any significant disruption or failures arise during the operation of e-Voting in the forthcoming elections.  After all, he wants the system and he is try to fix something that is not broken.

Broadcast on RTE's Today with Pat Kenny on 6th February 2004.

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