I do not want to hold up the proceedings but I want to go back over some sections of this Bill and remind the House that, as the Minister of State, Deputy Lyons, said on Second Stage of the Bill, in giving the CMR the force of law in the State the Bill also makes a necessary supplementary provision aimed at protecting the public as well as property and the environment. Article 22 of the CMR provides that a carrier is entitled to unload, destroy or render harmless dangerous goods. Section 3 (5) of the Bill provides that a carrier must give notice to the public authorities of his intentions in dealing with dangerous goods and he is obliged to take all practical steps to prevent injury or the risk of injury to persons or damage or the risk of damage to property or the environment.
I highlight those provisions because they have a great deal of relevance to politicians who represent Dublin city. The Minister acknowledges that there is to be an increased uptake in road haulage.With the anticipated increase in road haulage and trade using our road network and the resulting dangers posed by the carrying of dangerous and volatile materials by carriers particularly on our city road network, the Minister might look carefully at alternative methods of conveying these potential time bombs through built-up areas in Dublin city from their major source which is at Dublin port. It is an unsatisfactory method and environmentally unfriendly that these massive and dangerous lorries and their loads must travel through our city streets leaving thousands of city pedestrians and commuters vulnerable and leaving property vulnerable also in the event of an accident.
In this context we will have to consider for Dublin a rail link at Dublin port using the piggy-back combined transport technique as established and used on mainland Europe. If we are to be seen as real Europeans we should be seen to use desirable alternatives to bringing in these highly volatile loads on massive lorries trundling through our city streets making their way to their ultimate destination. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of pounds on roads like the eastern bypass or the — new term — port access route, a safe mode of conveying these goods can be achieved.
Severe problems are created in Dublin by heavy goods vehicles going from the port through the city to the main road network on the city outskirts. There is potential for the greater use of rail in this regard. Why should containers which arrive in port by ship not be transported by rail to a central depot outside the city where they could then be collected by heavy goods vehicles or drive-on, driveoff piggy-back systems as in operation in Europe and make their way to their destination? The rail network for this is already there. All we need to do is simply upgrade the line. This would take much of the freight traffic from the streets of Dublin reducing the weight of goods vehicles in the city and generally lessening damage and pollution to the environment.
I would like to record my disappointment with Deputy Gay Mitchell, who is on record as attacking myself and the members of the Labour Party for our non-attendance because we were at a conference in Trinity College on 1 June. He challenged us to be here today. We are here today, and it is very bad that the main Opposition party are not represented by their spokesman on Tourism and Transport.