Galway City Councillors have poured scorn over claims by the Harbour Board Company that the proposed €126m port redevelopment will have a minimal impact on city traffic.
That’s amid projections there will be double the number of lorries every day using roads around the site during its eight-year construction phase.
At a special sitting of Galway City Council last night, Senior Planner Caroline Phelan gave a presentation on a report to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála by the local authority outlining its views on the project.
The Galway Harbour Board is the first body in the State to lodge an application with the planning appeals board under the IROPI (Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest) process in January, which means that the council does not have the final say on whether or not to grant approval.
The council in its report has urged An Bord Pleanála to seek external expertise on various aspects of the application to ensure it held up to peer review, including its traffic implications, the affect of sedimentation on city beaches as a result of a four-year-long dredging process and the flooding risk.
It also included 41 suggested conditions that should be attached to any grant of planning permission – among them devising some mechanism to ensure there was sufficient funding to complete the project so the city was not left with a half-finished white elephant.
It was the council’s views on the traffic implications of the project that excited most comment from the councillors. Council engineers have predicted there will be an increase of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) movements of 102% and 147% during the morning and evening rush hour when the new port would be operational, which would likely most affect the Lough Atalia/College Road junction.
“This potential increase in the number of HGVs will result in the significant shortening of the lifespan of existing roads,” the report states.
The council also pointed out that a recent report has recommended that the Wolfe Tone Bridge should have a weight restriction of 26 tonnes, which would effectively mean a ban for construction lorries.
Yet, in the Environmental Impact Statement submitted as part of the application, it has been stated there would be a maximum 5% increase in traffic volumes.
“Who’s joking who for crying out loud,” exclaimed Labour Councillor Colette Connolly. “Every single councillor around this table knows of the impact of the Solas cinema and the closure of one lane. It’s an effective doubling of HGV traffic alone out the Lough Atalia Road.”
Concerns were also expressed about the Habour Board’s contention it would have just a “slightly negative impact” on views protected in the city development plan.
The report is scheduled to be submitted by April 3 and an oral hearing is likely to be held by An Bord Pleanála into the project in early May.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later
Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man
Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.
Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.
He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250, the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.