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Bypass plan back on the road

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An artist's impression of a bridge similar to that which was planned to span the Corrib as part of the multi-million Outer By-Pass Road for Galway.

IT has to start off again as a ‘clean sheet’ project after a fruitless 20 year hibernation – but the city’s outer bypass project could yet be completed by 2019/2020.
This week city and county councillors were briefed on the project with two full days of public consultation to take place next week . . . and now it’s ‘full steam ahead’ for the estimated €300 million project.
Project Engineer for the Galway City Outer Bypass (GCOB), Fintan O’Meara, told the Galway City Tribune that there was no alternative but to start with a ‘clean sheet’ process for the project.
“The original scheme has no longer any legal status following the court rulings but we are now starting afresh on a critical infrastructural project both for the city and the region,” said Mr O’Meara.
He said that with everything going on schedule they would hope to have the preferred route selected by ‘late 2014 or early 2015’ with the project going to the CPO (compulsory purchase order), EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) stages by late 2015 or early 2016. Construction time for the project is estimated to be in the region of three years.
This week, Galway Government TD, Brian Walsh, said there was an ‘absolute cast-iron guarantee’ that funding would be provided for the project once the planning hurdles had been cleared.
“It is an absolute certainty that the funding for this project will be provided. There is an overwhelming case in favour of this bypass both from the point of view of internal traffic in the city and in access to and from the Connemara region,” said Deputy Walsh.
Over recent days, a dedicated project office for GCOB has been established beside the National Roads Project Office in Ballybrit that is staffed by the Arup Consulting Engineers group.
In the briefing document provided to councillors this week, it was made clear that the project would be proceeding under Article 6 (4) of the European Habitats Directive or what is commonly referred to as the IROPI process – Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway-Limerick rail service records busiest year since its launch in 2010

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Ceannt Station

The Galway to Limerick intercity rail service enjoyed its busiest year in 2022 since it was re-opened in 2010 at a cost of €110 million.

Passenger numbers on the Western Rail Corridor grew by 14% last year, compared with the last pre-Covid year of 2019.

Supporters said the growth in usage has ‘defied the naysayers’, who argued against the service reopening over a decade ago – and it has reignited the campaign of those in favour of reopening the line from Athenry to Claremorris.

The National Transport Authority has confirmed to former Gaeltacht Minister, Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív, that usage of the Galway/Limerick line grew last year, compared to 2019, by 14.4%.

This was at a time when railway patronage as a whole dropped by an average of 25% on intercity routes. Usage was also down by 35% on commuter trains and fell by 26% on Dart.

The only other lines showing an increase in passenger numbers last year were the Dublin/Tralee service and the Cork/Middleton service which were up by 1.6% and 1.4% respectively.

In 2019, more than 500,000 passengers used the Galway to Limerick route, according to Irish Rail. Growth of 14% last year indicates that patronage has passed the 600,000 mark for the first time.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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