Angry residents on the east side of the city held a meeting to voice their concern over the proposed route for the Roscam-to-Renmore section of the Galway-to-Dublin cycleway.
Residents were outraged by the inclusion of the route on the Draft City Development Plan following a “dictatorial” submission from the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport without any consultation with local residents or public representatives.
According to local man John Grealish, who chaired the meeting, there are legitimate concerns that this route will dissect farming land and expose the area to crime that it had been protected from until now.
“One of the biggest concerns is the effect that this will have on the livelihoods of farmers,” said Mr Grealish. “There’s a dairy farmer in the area and there is a fear that the lands will become unusable with the problems arising for access.”
Mr Grealish explained that people are fearful that the exposure of the area behind private properties may lead to an increase in theft – giving burglars an alternative route out.
“The area is a peninsula and one of the benefits of that is that there is only one way in and one way out.
“This proposed route will expose the back of private property to people who could escape on motorbikes on the cycleway – and we are only two kilometres from the motorway so we are very open.
“There is one man that the route is so close to the back of his house – he could hand tea through the window to people passing,” said Mr Grealish.
From the meeting, it was suggested that an alternative route would be to run the cycleway parallel to the railway line – with Mr Grealish stressing that those in attendance were unopposed to the cycleway in general, just the current route proposal.
“There is already a proposal that they are going to run a pathway from the city out to Curragreen but a footpath – why couldn’t a cycleway be included?
“Farmers have indicated that of a small amount of land had to be taken for this, they wouldn’t mind – the issue here is splitting land in two,” said Mr Grealish.
Galway City Councillor Mike Crowe said at the meeting that he would prepare a submission to the council to have the proposed route taken out of the City Development Plan to give the parties a chance to talk to the NTA about the proposal – a move that he was supported in by Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, Cllr Declan McDonnell, Cllr Frank Fahy and Cllr John Walsh who were all in attendance.
“This community and, indeed, its local councillors will not stand idly by while fat cat consultants and senior officials in various national departments and organisations try to drive a coach and four through our community with little or no regard for the effect on the residents and the environs,” said Cllr Crowe.
He believed that the route was unsuitable for locals to commute in and out of the city given that cycling along the Coast Road would be shorter.
“It’s grand on a July afternoon if you’re a tourist out for a cycle,” exclaimed Cllr Crowe. “Other than that, it just doesn’t make sense.”
“We as councillors, through the mechanism of the Development Plan have an opportunity to remove this madness from it and send a message to these officials that we do not support this route.
“Along with my fellow councillors, I will work over the coming week to help formulate a motion that will do exactly this,” said Cllr Crowe.