Galway Chamber backs amalgamation of councils

City Hall on College Road (left) and County Hall on Prospect Hill.

Galway Chamber says an amalgamation of the city and county council is ‘the only way forward.’
The business organisation has spoken out following the publication of a long-awaited report on local government in Galway.
In a submission to the Galway Local Government Review Committee last year, Galway Chamber recommended a single administration for the city and county.
Following the publication of today’s report, which recommends the councils be merged, the organisation says the move would ‘truly benefit’ both the city and county.
There’s been a polarised reaction to the potential merging of Galway City and County Council into a new ‘Greater Galway Authority’.
It follows the publication of a long-awaited report on local government arrangements in Galway which recommends the unification of both local authorities.
The Galway Local Government Committee was established by then Minister for Local Government Alan Kelly in January 2015.
It was tasked with carrying out a review of local government arrangements in Galway City and County and to make recommendations for improvements.
The review examined the possible impacts of three scenarios – no change, an extension of the city boundary, or a total merger of the two local authorities.
Councillor James Charity is one of those sitting on Galway County Council who welcomes the news – he says unification should have happened sooner:
City Councillor Padraig Conneely disagrees.
He says the recommendation is extremely bad news for Galway City.
He says the department simply doesn’t want to have to look after two authorities when it could look after one.
Gaeltacht Minister and Galway West/South Mayo TD Sean Kyne says councillors need to take the time to read the report before making up their minds.
Meanwhile, another Galway West/South Mayo TD is urging calm following the publication of the report
Deputy Noel Grealish says the document is ‘just a report,’ and substantial debate will take place before any decision is taken.
A final decision on whether or not to merge Galway City and County Council is likely to be made in mid-2017.
If Minister Simon Coveney decides to go ahead with the merger, the city and county council would be replaced with a unified ‘Greater Galway Authority’.
Minister Coveney is expected to engage in in-depth discussions with both councils before any decision is made.