Councillors criticise city colleagues over traffic seminar snub

Galway City Council has been accused of “bad manners” by not inviting councillors from the county to a seminar to discuss the current traffic crisis.

The City Council has organised a day long workshop for their own councillors in early January to look at the traffic challenges that exist into the future – but their ‘country cousins’ feel left out.

But the point has been made that the traffic problems in the city are mainly created by the volume of cars that arrive in Galway each day from north and east Galway.

“This is not just a city problem,” declared an angry Cllr Pete Roche at a meeting of Galway County Council when he made reference to the workshop that will take place in the New Year.

The Fine Gael councillor said that there were thousands of motorists who are travelling from the county into the city each morning to go to work and are experiencing immense annoyance and frustrations at the delays being encountered.

This is why he thought that Galway City Council would extend an invitation to the members of Galway County Council who represent the vast majority of motorists who are experiencing the traffic nightmare around the city.

“The traffic chaos that currently exists in Galway doesn’t just affect those who live in the city. It has an impact on the thousands of workers from the county who have to face this nightmare on a daily basis.

“The City Council has organised some sort of a traffic workshop but decided not to invite the county councillors to it. This just smacks of bad manners on their part,” Cllr Roche added.

He said that the traffic chaos in the city affects the whole county and an open invitation should have been made to the councillors representing the areas where the vast majority of workers travel from.

City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has warned that there will be very difficult decisions to make in the New Year regarding transport in order to overcome the traffic crisis in Galway.

The City Council has organised a day long workshop for their own councillors on January 5 to look at the traffic challenges in advance of the City Centre Transport Management Plan which will come before councillors next month.

Many elements of the plan are listed in the council’s Three Year Capital Programme which was published this week. The programme is the blueprint for developing the city but its elements are aspirational until they are funded.

Officials Uinsinn Finn and Tom Connell said one of the Transport Plan’s main aims is to open up the city centre as a focal point for walking, cycling and public transport, but they stressed this requires substantial funding.

Recently, city councillor Peter Keane organised two public meetings to discuss the future of public transport in Galway. One was organised to discuss what steps could be taken to address the current gridlock while the other focused on the provision of a light rail system for the city.

While several city public representatives were in attendance along with a number of TDs, there was no invite for the rural councillors who believe that they should have an input when it comes to discussing the traffic crisis.

“If anything, the current traffic nightmare has more of an affect on rural motorists than it does on people living in the city,” according to Cllr Pete Roche.