With the required additional information submitted to An Bord Pleanála by Galway County Council, the Chief Executive of the City Council said the decades-long saga of a Ring Road for Galway has crossed another significant hurdle – with the next to be a public oral hearing.
Should planning be approved for the Ring Road, Brendan McGrath said he believed it was possible to have the €650 million project completed by 2025 – and said it would be possible to open it in stages.
“One of the good things about the Ring Road is it can potentially be delivered in phases. It doesn’t have to wait for the entire road to be built for part of it to open,” he said.
Director of Services Ruth McNally said this incremental approach would be important in several projects – not just the Ring Road.
“You might look at that and think it’s very piecemeal – a bit here and a bit there. But we are conscious that the city is very busy and even the smallest intervention is going to cause traffic. That is why we are doing things incrementally in different places,” said Ms McNally.
As reported in the Galway City Tribune last week, Cosain, the Community Road Safety and Information Network, obtained documentation which revealed a predicted 37% increase in CO2 emissions as a result of the new road – a figure from the Government-approved business case for the Ring Road.
However, Mr McGrath refuted this claim, arguing that the shift to electric vehicles would reduce this figure.
“Galway Transportation Strategy, the overarching strategy, is predicated on a principle of climate sustainability. It’s about giving Galway’s streets back to its citizens and getting rid of congestion. Getting people onto high-frequency, sustainable and green public transport.
“Under the Government’s Climate Change Plan, launched a couple of months ago, it envisages there will be 900,000 electric vehicles on Ireland’s roads by the year 2030. That’s the Government’s target, so when the Ring Road is built, most of those will be electric cars,” he claimed.
“The city centre becomes a safe place to walk, to cycle – a place where you will get your bus to wherever you need. Where you don’t have to be car dependent and where the parallel works around reducing flooding, greening the city and the dividend from 2020 – I talk about transforming transport, but’s about transforming the city and how we live in the city,” he continued.
One area where works were already underway was the regeneration of the pedestrian centre, said Ms McNally.
“Phase two of Shop Street is going to be starting at the end of this month. That’s Eason’s to Lynch’s Castle. As well as that, we’ll shortly be starting an automated bollard contract as well. It will be a separate contract,” she said.
Phase two will be completed by early December, with another phase to be complete in quarter one of 2020, said Mr McGrath. The bollards will be completed at the same time, he added.
Huge reward for ‘dognap’ – as canine companion dies of broken heart
Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most famous dog, Biggy the Irish Wolfhound, has “died of a broken heart” after his Jack Russell best mate was the victim of a suspected ‘dognap’ – which led to the owner putting up a €20,000 reward.
Following a social media campaign which went viral, Biggy was famously reunited with his family 11 days after he went missing in 2013. He was discovered on the motorway outside Athenry.
Nine years later, James Leopold Mechels has erected hundreds of posters all over the city and suburbs in a desperate bid to find the ageing Jack Russell he calls ‘Little One’.
The Belgian native recently increased a reward for the return of his beloved pooch from €1,000 to €20,000. But so far, no credible sightings have been made.
“He’s been missing for 3,288 hours – 137 days, I’m so exhausted, so upset, so anxious. I’ve stopped working to focus all of my effort into finding him. I’ve cycled all over the city, I’ve driven to the horse fair in Ballinasloe,” James told the Galway City Tribune this week.
This is a preview only. To read more of James’ story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
■ Anybody with information is asked to call 087 0650678 or Ark Vets on 091 584185.
Row deepens over Tiny Traders market
Galway City Tribune – The row between the Tiny Traders Village and Galway Arts Centre – the operators of Nuns’ Island Theatre – deepened this week as the Arts Centre announced its intentions to open its own market on the site.
Manager of the Tiny Traders Village, Paul David Murphy, has claimed this was proof that it was always Galway Arts Centre, and its Managing Director, Páraic Breathnach’s, intention to “force” them out, adding that he had felt under constant threat of being shut down.
“It did come as a bit of a shock, but it was something I was expecting,” said Mr Murphy of a post on social media announcing that a new market would open.
“It’s now obvious that they were trying to get rid of us and I can’t believe how transparent they’ve been. Up until this point, there had been a little degree of mystery as to why this happened. It’s sad because the Tiny Traders Village was working really well.”
This comes following a decision by the Tiny Traders to cease trading two weeks ago, citing changes that Galway Arts Centre had requested that Mr Murphy said would have made his business “unviable”.
Speaking to the Galway City Tribune this week, Páraic Breathnach confirmed that they had requested changes – involving layout alterations and clearance – but this had been done due to health and safety concerns.
“There were changes requested to comply with fire regulations, safety and health. They were in relation to the blocking of pathways, the blocking of fire exits, clearance between stalls and the affixing of canopies to a listed building,” said Mr Breathnach.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
Call for Gardaí to confiscate vehicles involved in fly-tipping
Galway City Tribune – confiscation of vehicles – and driver disqualification – have been sought by a Galway TD and a local councillor for those involved in illegal dumping.
According to Independent TD, Noel Grealish and Independent councillor, Noel Larkin, illegal dumping on the east side of Galway City has now reached ‘an all-time high’.
Last week, Deputy Grealish and Cllr Larkin, met with Climate Action and Environment Minister, Richard Bruton, to seek new measures cracking down on those involved in illegal dumping.
“I asked Minister Bruton to introduce legislation that would result in driver disqualification for persons convicted of illegal dumping while using a vehicle. I am also seeking for the introduction of legislation that will give judges the power to order the confiscation of vehicles used for illegal dumping,” said Deputy Grealish.
The Gardaí and Galway City and Council Councils have now been asked to establish an ‘all-county initiative’ to tackle the problem.
This year, Galway City Council was allocated just €50,000 from a €7.4m Government fund to tackle illegal dumping – the lowest figure of any local authority in the country.
This is a preview only. For extensive coverage of the illegal dumping issue, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.