If I may have a little time, I will go full steam at all of them.
I will give one example of a regret, or perhaps where NIFTI would have been useful. I will go right back to when I was involved in the Dublin transportation advisory committee in the mid-1990s. I was very involved in the development of the Platform for Change plan, which was really the best plan, one which we rooted in good, deep, sustainable planning concepts. I will always remember when - it must have been in 1999 or 2000 - the engineers and all the brains behind that plan gave us a presentation with a slide that read whatever we do, build the metro first and do not widen the M50 first. What did we do? We widened the M50 first and did not do the metro. As a result, Dublin has now developed as a doughnut city. That is not blaming anyone but that was a fundamental mistake. In setting a strategic direction for the city, it is going to very hard to recreate a sustainable model. We will do it but that is an example.
The Deputy is correct about freight. Again, included in that is this idea of Dublin being at the centre of everything. I believe 95% of roll-on roll-off freight comes through Dublin Port. Roll-on roll-off is our main freight and haulage mode. Everything comes into Dublin Port, drives through the Dublin Port tunnel and down the country to drop off stuff before going out through Dublin Port again. It is the biggest challenge when it comes to climate. We have a real issue with how we are going to address this. The haulage business is not making money out of it. The rail review includes looking at freight. We are looking at a wider haulage strategy. That will require a whole range of different solutions such as how we fit the circular economy into it, among other things.
To give an example of greenways competing against other public priorities, I will perhaps take Rosslare Port which, again, is developing, particularly for roll-on roll-off freight. With Brexit, the land bridge is less attractive so we are seeing much more going through Rosslare.
On the issue of the rail line, the Deputy mentioned the Barrow Bridge. It is being kept in the position that it can be opened until after the rail review. We await the findings of that. Some people are saying that rail line could be turned into a lovely greenway while others want it to be connected to the port. With Rosslare set to become more strategically important for the State, some ask why we would get rid of that rail connection. That is an example.
The western rail corridor was mentioned previously. If members want to get into a civil war, as Senator Dooley might know, his friends further along the western coast - Deputies from counties Mayo and Galway - have very different views on whether we should develop that line as a rail corridor or as a greenway. I dare not even mention the subject because it is so sensitive. There are examples like that.
On the issue of remote working, it is full of real benefits and potential. It has the potential for us to revitalise rural Ireland, develop hubs and towns across the country and transform how the country works for the better. For many people, working form home is going to be very attractive. They have found over Covid that it works. There are some risks to it. First, we need to avoid the risk of not taking the road space while we have it. Going back to what I said earlier about the much reduced level of commuting, we should quickly and urgently, in the next two to three years, make sure we do not return to having every distributor road going into the city full of traffic, which will inexorably happen. Traffic fills the road space, so we need to take some of that space, particularly in the city centres.
Working from home could also accentuate what we have seen in the hollowing-out of some areas. In my constituency of Dublin Bay South, the south inner city suffered particularly during Covid. While the north inner city at least had a large number of people living in it, in the south inner city, where there is a large number of offices, hotels and retail spaces, it did not have enough people in it. We need to bring people back in to Thomas Street and elsewhere. We have been trying to do it and talking about it for decades, but it is time for us to do it. The point I made earlier in respect of Tipperary town applies just as much to Thomas Street.
The provision of public land is also an issue. Our Department has responsibility for Dublin Port. We are going to take land from Dublin Port and give it over for housing. As we build the DART+ out west to Maynooth and the need for the storage of trains is moved beyond Maynooth, we can then take the incredible storage site in Inchicore which is a massive centre for potential development. We can and will turn Cathal Brugha Barracks into a new living quarter close to the centre of the city where residents will not need a car. One of the questions being raised is how to bring down the cost of apartments and provide affordable cost-rental housing in the likes of Cathal Brugha Barracks. People can walk from that location into town. It is close to good public transport infrastructure. People in that area will often be working perhaps five or ten minutes down the road. As is happening in cities right across Europe, where there are sustainable zones, we could put 1,000 homes in there and car parking would not be required. We would save a fortune because the land is very valuable. We could create really high-quality development in that location, which is beside the canal.
We will take the through traffic out of Rathmines main street, which was designed as a stunning boulevard. Let us bring that back and put the housing in with it. That is utterly doable. There is a clear commitment in Government to housing. It is our first priority. Young people will continue to be priced out of our State unless we take these bold measures. It will not be easy for the Army, but we can build new, better, high-quality barracks, whether it is at Baldonnel, Gormanston or McKee Barracks. They need modernisation. At the same time, we could use the land at the Cathal Brugha Barracks for sustainable communities close to the centre. We need to get people back in the centre of our cities, particularly in south Dublin and Dublin city. The area is hugely successful but it cannot just be a financial services and tourism centre and not be our town where we live.