Council goes full circle on Kirwan Roundabout

The Kirwan roundabout on the Headford Road, which Galway City Council is once again attempting to remove.
The Kirwan roundabout on the Headford Road, which Galway City Council is once again attempting to remove.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s Galway City Council’s policy on Kirwan Roundabout. Or, if at first you don’t succeed, do nothing for five years, then come back with the same plan, and hope that nobody notices, and if they do, just ignore them anyway. That’s what’s happened here.

Basically, it’s the Council’s way or the highway.

In 2012, people power helped city councillors to unanimously reject the proposal to turn the five-arm roundabout junction into a four-armed traffic lights junction.

It was rejected because locals – residents and businesses – didn’t support it.

Councillors who initially warmed to the idea of removing the roundabout baulked after an intense lobbying campaign and performed a u-turn.

Now, five years later, they’ve gone full-circle, performed another u-turn and voted to remove the roundabout they voted to keep five years ago.

This is despite the Kirwan Action Group garnering 1,360 signatures from locals opposed to the 2017-version of the same proposal.

Clearly, the opposition hasn’t gone away. Residents, in fairness, do not oppose signalisation as such. Residents oppose what they call the ‘flawed’ design of the Council’s preferred option, which diverts the Coolagh Road onto the N84 Headford Road, north-east of the existing junction. They are also angry that Kirwan is being considered in isolation to the city’s overall traffic woes.

If it was wrong to remove the roundabout five years ago, it remains wrong today.

Those councillors who changed their minds in the past five years, and who voted in 2012 to keep the roundabout, and who have now voted to remove it, have a bit of explaining to do.

Because if removing the roundabout is the right thing to do now, it was the correct course of action five years ago.

If that is the case, motorists suffered five additional years of hardship at that junction because the people elected to make decisions for the public good were too spineless or too indecisive to do the right thing. And they wonder why you’re cynical.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.