Date Published: 01-Jun-2011
Just a few months into the term of office of the new Fine Gael-Labour government and it has been a particularly torrid start for Galway West’s new TDs – Brian Walsh and Sean Kyne (FG) and Derek Nolan (Lab).
The national opinion polls may say the government is more popular, but the spotlight has fallen on them because at issue is the future of Galway Airport, which seems doomed if the government does not come up with funding for ongoing running costs.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who might be kindly described as ‘the most directly spoken’ among the Cabinet, has said that there is not funding to support the airport. The airport authorities said initially they needed €1.7million this year.
Suddenly, the three new TDs hardly had their bums on those seats in Leinster House – one of them a gain from Fianna Fail as they knocked out FF’s Frank Fahey – and they were being asked difficult questions back home in the constituency over a key piece of infrastructure that many see as crucial to city’s future.
The situation in which they find themselves brings me back once more to the famous remark of Seamus Brennan in the Dail to TDs who found themselves in government – ”ye’re playing senior hurling now, lads.”
Galway Airport first had said that it needed a €1.7million subvention for this year, but, following a lot of work both by the airport and TDs, and a huge re-working of the airport figures and projections, this was reduced to €1.2million. I understand that a large part of the re-working was on the basis of a major increase in traffic.
However, this €1,2million was still twice the total national funding which Varadkar had for potentially three airports – Galway, Sligo and Waterford.
The word in government circles is that this is just one of many cuts in spending which will have to be carried through and they are not going to re-visit cuts decided on by the previous government.
But there is no point now in the present government pointing to a previous administration as regards cuts, especially as Eamon Ó Cuív TD (FF) pointed out in the past week that the Transport Department with its budget of well over €600million this year, must surely be able to find a million in its spending.
All this has upped the squeeze on the three TDs – Walsh, Kyne and Nolan – for whom the airport is at the heart of their vote area. The pressure mounting on them is coming from business and community.
Business leaders say the airport will close if funding is not forthcoming and it is crucial for the future of Galway, especially in the area of attracting new industry. Key industries are reputed to have said that the airport is crucial – but the Varadkar line up to now appears to be that he doesn’t have the money, Galway-Dublin is now well less than two hours by motorway, and that the airport is not being used anyway.
Of course, it was also a week in which we had the first major Fine Gael-Labour ‘spat’ of the present administration – with East Galway Labour TD Colm Keaveney hitting the national headlines when he said a very loud ‘no’ in the Dail to and intervention by Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton TD on the setting of wages in sectors such as hotels and catering.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.