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Just 40% of farmers support greenway plans



A senior official with Galway County Council has claimed that 40% of farmers were supportive of the proposed controversial greenway coming through their lands.

And Director of Services for Roads and Transportation, Liam Gavin asked elected members to be positive about the economic and social benefits from the provision of the greenway through lands in East Galway.

But members of Ballinasloe Municipal Council maintained that there was growing opposition to the plan and did not believe it was a runner in its current format.

The Council and the National Roads Authority have been asked to go back to ‘the drawing board’.

It is planned to provide a coast to coast greenway from Dublin to Galway and the indications are that the National Roads Authority are not going to terminate the greenway in Athlone.

One source in the NRA said that it would be completed to Galway “come hell or high water”.

The reason for this is that it will ultimately link with the Galway to Clifden greenway which is currently being constructed along the old railway line between the two destinations.

Another presentation has been made to Municipal Councils along the proposed route of the greenway including Ballinasloe last week where councillors were strong in their opposition to the project and one councillor walked out in protest before the presentation even began.

It is an indication of the huge opposition there is to the greenway crossing farmland between Ballinasloe and Oranmore.

The IFA is opposed to it while other independent organisations have been established to voice their objections.

The section of greenway from Dublin to Athlone will mainly be along the banks of the Royal Canal which is largely in public ownership.

The remainder of the route may require compulsory purchase orders, which would be a nightmare scenario for landowners.

Mr Gavin spoke about the huge economic benefit for East Galway towns and villages and also outlined what consultation process has been carried out with landowners along the route.

“It is not about me or Galway County Council, it is about people and community. We have had public consultations and I do admit that there are around 60% of land owners opposed to it,” he added.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Aidan Donohue believed that the opposition was much greater. He said that the NRA was “bullish” about the route but it could blow up in their faces.

In a lengthy submission, Cllr Michael Connolly of Fianna Fail said that it was imperative that any lands acquired will be by mutual agreement and not CPO.

He said that this was being driven by people in Dublin who have no idea the impact of such a greenway on the farming community in the West of Ireland.

Cllr. Connolly added that the greenway was being ‘foisted’ on farmers in the west.

“If they do not get the goodwill of the community, then it cannot work,” he remarked.


Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport



From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Pamela’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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