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Bypass route justification report due in weeks

Dara Bradley



The route selection report on the proposed new city bypass is set to be published in mid-August.

The detailed report, which will run to several thousand pages, will outline all the information that has been compiled and used to date in the selection of the emerging preferred route, which was published in May.

It will include all sorts of environmental information, public consultation, logs of traffic patterns, constraints along the routes examined and so on.

Michael Timmins, senior road engineer with Galway County Council, the agency leading the project on behalf of the National Roads Authority and Galway City Council, confirmed it would be published in a few weeks.

“We’re still working away to a schedule. The route selection report will be published in mid-August. It’s a very substantial document and will have thousands of pages and appendices. It is a detailed document of all the information about how we got to this point in the process of route selection,” said Mr Timmins.

He explained that the County Council, and consultants Arup, are on course to publishing the Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Natura Impact Statement (NIS) in Spring 2016.

Once the CPOs, EIS and NIS are published, it is then a matter for An Bórd Pleanála, he said.

“We are continuing our work. We are following the statutory process . . . we are on course for CPOs, NIS and EIS to be published in the Spring of next year,” he said.

Mr Timmins said the Council was keeping up its end of the bargain and was on schedule with its body of work but he acknowledged once it goes to An Bórd Pleanála it could be delayed by all sorts of issues, including possible legal challenges and a lack of funding.

Mr Timmins said that the Council is still engaging with landowners and property owners along the emerging preferred route.

The road footprint is being tweaked still he said, in order to facilitate those affected. “Even this week we had two or three landowners in to us. It’s not going to be moved 500 metres but we are facilitating moving slightly in one direction or the other to minimise the impact on people. We might change a junction or move it one way or the other to limit the impact on those affected but it has to be within road design guidelines because we cannot compromise on safety,” he said.

Meanwhile, some 130 people, including around 20 politicians, – and not 500 or 600 people as had been claimed – attended a meeting in the Clayton Hotel last week where opposition to the road and possible alternatives were aired.

Following the public meeting, representatives from Galway N6 Action Group, and groups from Barna and Castlegar held a meeting where it was agreed to ‘step up’ plans to co-ordinate their opposition to the road. They are planning another public meeting in September.

Independent Senator Fidelma Healy Eames issued a statement this wek to say that the emerging preferred route had to be ‘signed off’ by the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe before it is submitted to An Bórd Pleanála.

However, the Department of Transport midweek appeared to throw cold water on this suggestion.

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre



Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley



Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney



The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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