Planners are treading the tightrope of staying within European environment laws and minimising the number of properties that will be destroyed, when choosing the preferred route of the new Galway city outer bypass.
The end of the road for the doomed ‘old’ city bypass ultimately came following legal challenges to Europe, and environmental concerns over protected bogs and limestone pavement.
But the driver of the new ring-road project, Galway County Council, insists it will choose a new route that is, “robust enough to withstand whatever legal challenge it faces”.
Senior Engineer, Michael Timmins, told the Galway City Tribune: “Environmental habitats have the protection of European law. And you’re trying to strike the balance between that and property destruction that will result in the route having to stay out of environmentally sensitive areas.”
The six preferred bypass routes – five new routes and an upgrade of the existing N6 through the city – were unveiled to the public on Wednesday and Thursday at consultation meetings in the Westwood Hotel. The other avenue being explored is a public transport only option.
Over five hundred members of the public attended the consultations, which continue in the Menlo Park Hotel next Tuesday and Wednesday from 2pm-8pm.
It has been conceded that between 30 and 120 homes, and perhaps a dozen businesses, will be destroyed to make way for the road, depending on the route chosen.
Concerns and misgivings about the new routes were raised by the public at the meetings this week. Many voiced their concerns that planners and law-makers were prioritising limestone pavement and bogs ahead of people.
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For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.