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Ireland's transport policy is centred around the efficient movement of people and ensuring increased accessibility to all passengers using the transport network.

A strong transport system enhances competitiveness, sustains economic progress, promotes balanced regional development and contributes to social cohesion.

Public Transport

Ireland's strategic objectives when it comes to public transport are:

  • the provision of a well-functioning, integrated public transport system
  • the provision of high quality public transport at a reasonable cost to the customer and the taxpayer
  • to ensure that all new developments when it comes to public transport or roads are carried out to improve Ireland's sustainability
  • to ensure the timely and cost effective delivery of the Public Transport investment programme in line with the National Strategic Outcomes set out in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040.

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Within the framework of a balanced and integrated transport policy, it is imperative for the State to provide for the safe, efficient and cost-effective movement of people and goods by road. With 5306 kilometres of national roads in Ireland (as well as 916 kilometres of motorway), it is an area that affects almost every person in the country.

There are specific objectives laid out in Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027 to:

  • ensure the provision of a safe and efficient network of regional, local and national roads
  • ensure the optimal and safe use of the public road network
  • consider the needs of all road users including cyclists and pedestrians in the construction of any road infrastructure


It is critical that Irish aviation practices and procedures comply with best international standards; promoting the development of a vibrant, competitive and progressively regulated aviation sector and the provision of adequate airport infrastructure and competitive airport services.

Ireland's aviation policy is centred around three main aims:

  • to enhance Ireland’s connectivity by ensuring safe, secure and competitive access responsive to the needs of business, tourism and consumers
  • to foster the growth of aviation enterprise in Ireland to support job creation and position Ireland as a recognised global leader in aviation
  • to maximise the contribution of the aviation sector to Ireland’s economic growth and development

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Developing Ireland's maritime transport sector, by facilitating the achievement of international safety levels and by enhancing infrastructure needed to secure employment in the shipping, fishing and leisure sectors is a key priority.

The government aims to foster conditions supportive of the development of Irish based ship ownership, ship management and related maritime activities. It is also of critical importance to insure the safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution of the marine environment from ship-based sources.

All new vessels (as well as vessels that are being modified) must be certified as being safe to exist on Irish waters.

The sea safety policy is also helped by the Coast Guard which assists in 3,000 marine emergencies each year, helping 4,500 people and saving 2000 lives. The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

As set out in the National Ports Policy the relationship and interaction between the commercial ports sector and the planning and development system is extremely important in ensuring continued sustainable development of the ports sector.

The provision of capacity into the future remains a crucial strategic objective; however, ports policy is not prescriptive as regards the location of future port capacity.

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Transport and Climate Change

By 2040 the population of Ireland is expected to grow by over 1 million to 5.7 million people. This growth will drive greater demand for transport. While this is a sign of a vibrant economy, it intensifies our challenge to remove carbon from the air - as transport accounted for 19.8% of Ireland’s greenhouse gases in 2017.

Furthermore, air pollution emitted from transportation contributes to poor local air quality which reduces people’s quality of life and harms their health.

The Climate Action Plan 2019 lays out specific goals for Ireland including:

  • developing the electric vehicle network to sustain at least 800,000 cars by 2030
  • banning cars powered by fossil fuels by 2030 and stop granting National Car Tests (NCT) by 2045
  • a move towards the electrification of Ireland's public bus fleet
  • expanding the LUAS network
  • expanding the national cycle network as set out in the National Cycle Policy Framework

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Publications (124)

Statement from Minister Ross on importance of maintaining all elements of the supply chain

3 April 2020; Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Press release;

Maritime Sector COVID-19 related information

3 April 2020; Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Publication;