Annual: Operation Freeflow

An Garda Siochána's annual Operation Freeflow initiative aimed at reducing congestion in Dublin city centre over the Christmas period begins tomorrow.

However, unlike last year, the College Green 'bus gate' will continue to operate during the festive season, after Dublin city councillors voted against a temporary suspension this year.

A spokesman for the Garda press office confirmed that Operation Freeflow will commence from tomorrow.

The annual Garda initiative typically includes the allocation of increased numbers of officers to traffic policing duties and a ban on non-essential road works in the capital. A website, went live last week with information on the current traffic situation in Dublin.

A spokeswoman for Dublin city council said it is not proposed to suspend the College Green bus corridor this year for Christmas.

"This decision was made by the elected members of the City Council. In the council's opinion the bus corridor is working well," she said.

Tom Coffey of the Dublin City Business Association said the bus gate "is not really an issue this year" as there are extra bridges in place to take cross-Liffey traffic.

"The economy is down to 2006 levels and so also is travel on public transport so I think Christmas will be slower than previous years. But, of course, Christmas is a time for family, kids, friends and presents, so the city centre is the main centre for this type of shopping and socialising," he said.

"Dublin city centre is now the safest city in the EU for traffic accidents so I think Operation Freeflow will concentrate on courtesy from drivers and enforcement on driving with drink or drugs taken."