Garda chief rejects ‘point duty’ proposal for Parkmore

Gardaí will not be put on duty to ease traffic congestion at Parkmore, because of health and safety concerns, Galway City Council has been told.

At a meeting of the local authority this week, Councillor Peter Keane said he was told by Gardaí that they will only go on point duty in the case of an emergency.

Last month, Cllr Keane proposed a three-month pilot scheme which would see members of the Traffic Corps on duty at key junctions during peak morning and evening traffic, the cost of which would be borne by the City and County Council, along with Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

“They have come back to say that Gardaí will not be allocated to point duty at any time, other than in an emergency,” Cllr Keane said.

“It is a poor reflection that we can’t have Gardaí standing at these junctions. I’d say this is an emergency – it is critical.

“People are spending two to three hours in their cars every day getting to and from Parkmore.

“We can’t get 12,000 people in and out of Parkmore, but we can get 40,000 in and out of Ballybrit during the races. I don’t think we should give up on it as a chamber.”

The pilot scheme envisaged Gardaí on point duty at the Coolagh roundabout (at the end of the motorway), the Briarhill junction, Carnmore Cross, and at the Tuam Road/Parkmore junction from 7.30am to 9am and from 4pm to 5.30pm.

Councillors were told this week that in response to the motion, An Garda Síochána had commissioned a health and safety audit.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, agreed that there had been “horrendous” delays for workers at these critical junctions, but he said that the situation had been alleviated since ‘intervention’ works were carried out in the last few months.

“I understand the frustrations and delays at Parkmore, they have been hugely cumbersome and disruptive, but we also need to look at what has happened since February,” he said.

“In February, the average delay leaving Parkmore was 45 minutes – on the worst days, that was between 90 minutes and two hours. Galway City Council outlined three interventions of work between February and August to alleviate the situation.”
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