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Anger over go-slow on Connemara roadworks

There has been an angry reaction from Connemara Area councillors over the ongoing ‘stalling’ of vital road and infrastructural projects across the region – mostly on environmental grounds.

The failure to progress projects on the main N59 Galway to Clifden road at Claremount and from Clifden to Maam Cross led to councillors hitting out at the national authorities for their ‘neglect of the region’.

Planning and environmental issues in SAC (Special Areas of Conservation) were cited as the reasons for the road hold-ups which councillors said were choking the potential of the Connemara region in terms of its development potential and the survival of the local economy.

“We actually ended up losing the planning on the Maam Cross to Clifden road project. I have to say that I’m seriously disappointed with the failure of TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) to take this project seriously,” said Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus Walsh.

He said that some of those who objected to this project going ahead were working for the same department [Environment], adding that there was no reason why this road upgrade should not go ahead.

Cllr. Tomás Ó Curraoin (Rep. SF) said that there seemed to be different rules for different places across Ireland in terms of roads projects going ahead. “We’re stopped from doing things in the West – we’re not getting a fair crack of the whip,” he said.

Independent councillor, Tom Welby, said that there seemed to be things going on in the background which were stalling key infrastructural project across Connemara.

He said that the ‘head guy’ in the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) had said that the Oughterard to Bunnakill was a ‘good project’ – and yet it wasn’t going ahead.

Cllr. Eileen Mannion (FG) said that it was very disappointing to see projects like the Bunnakill to Claremount project not being advanced. “Nothing has moved forward with this,” she said.

According to Cllr. Gerry King (FF), it was hard to fathom out how improvement works could be carried out on some parts of the N59 but not on others. “This is just going on for far too long,” he added.

New Connemara Area Cathaoirleach, Noel Thomas (FF) said that the bits of work done so far on the N59 had been successful – it was hard to figure out why the other projects weren’t going ahead. “I don’t know where it has gone wrong,” he said.

Cllr. Pádraig Mac an Iomaire (FG) said that there was a long stretch of roadway in Donegal through a bog where an excellent job had been made of it from all aspects. “The question has to be asked: are there different rules for different counties?” he added.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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