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Councillors pave the way for new access road to Merlin Park


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Councillors pave the way for new access road to Merlin Park Councillors pave the way for new access road to Merlin Park

From the Galway City Tribune – Moves by a number of councillors to delete the provision for a new road access to Merlin Park Hospital in the Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) were defeated in two separate votes taken at a meeting of the City Council.

Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, had advised that the objective in the plan for the new access road and junction to the hospital should be retained until details of the proposed masterplan for the hospital were finalised.

“It would be considered premature to remove [the new access] until a strategic traffic assessment for the MPUH (Merlin Park University Hospital) campus has been carried out,” said Mr McGrath.

In the first of two submissions on the issue submitted to the Draft City Plan, the Health Service Executive welcomed the proposed new access to the hospital, adding that this new road access ‘should be delivered in advance of the delivery of objectives for primary cycleway and bus routes into the hospital’.

Green Party councillor, Martina O’Connor, said that it didn’t make sense to propose a second access from the hospital just because there were traffic lights already in place at that particular location. “The current junction needs to be improved,” she said.

Cllr Colette Connolly (Ind) said that she was opposed to the ‘railroading’ of another road to the hospital which was not needed. “We should be concentrating on improving the existing entrance/exit junction,” she said.

According to Cllr Owen Hanley (Social Democrats), the proposal for the second access junction and road should be taken out of the plan now, and if there was a need for it later on, this could be done by way of a material contravention.

Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) said the problem with the existing junction was that the scope just wasn’t there to improve it sufficiently. “It’s just not practical to improve it properly and make it safe for everyone,” he said.

Independent councillor, Declan McDonnell, said that clearly the current junction was ‘a hugely dangerous one’ and the planners should at least be given the option of considering the proposal for the new access proposal.

He proposed that the second access option be left in the plan – a motion that was seconded by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG). Cllr Owen Hanley proposed the removal of this option from the plan, seconded by Cllr Niall Murphy (Greens).

On a vote of 10-4, councillors decided to leave the second access option in the plan. Cllrs Colette Connolly, Owen Hanley, Niall Murphy and Martina O’Connor voted against the proposal to retain the second access option.

There was also a 10-4 vote against the adoption of a submission from An Taisce opposing the new access provision in the plan – instead favouring ‘a new layout’ of the existing entrance and retaining it as ‘the only entrance’ to Merlin Park from the Dublin Road.

The adoption of the An Taisce submission was proposed by Cllr Colette Connolly and seconded by Cllr Martina O’Connor with councillors Owen Hanley and Niall Murphy also supporting that motion.

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