Consequences of oil spillage would be ‘unimaginable’

The ‘unimaginable’ consequences of an oil spillage on Galway Bay have been highlighted

Galway City Councillors were warned last week of the potential natural disaster that would arise if one of the oil tankers using Galway Harbour ran aground off the city’s coastline.

Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said he often wonders what might happen on a stormy night, when gale force winds and high tides caused an oil tanker to leak its cargo.

“I hope to God it will never happen but we have to have a plan in place to prepare for it if it does happen,” said Mr McGrath.

He said he didn’t need to spell out the consequences an oil spillage would have on the city’s natural environment, including its beaches, as well as Galway’s tourism industry.

Mr McGrath gave the warning by way of explanation as to why the City Council was setting aside €50,000 in 2017 for an oil spillage plan.

“We don’t have one at the moment and we are obliged to have one,” he said.

A Council spokesperson explained that the money will be used to prepare a plan to limit the effects of an oil spillage. The €50,000 will be added to in subsequent years and equipment will be purchased to back up the plan.

Councillor Cathal Ó Conchúir (SF) had queried why the money needed to be spent by the local authority. He thought the fire brigade or Galway Harbour would respond in the event of an oil spillage.

But Mr McGrath said the Council was statutorily obliged to have a plan in place.