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Proposal for car-free Galway City branded ‘airy fairy’ stuff


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Proposal for car-free Galway City branded ‘airy fairy’ stuff

From the Galway City Tribune – A Green Party county councillor’s proposal to turn Galway City into a car-free zone was described as ‘airy fairy stuff’ by his colleagues at a meeting last week.

The motion was rejected by members of Galway County Council who were asked to work with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Galway City Council to achieve this aim.

It was proposed by Green Party member Alastair McKinstry, who was rounded on by several councillors.

A number of them argued that it was impossible to avail of public transport in rural areas for those working in Galway City, leaving them with no choice but to bring in their cars.

A climate expert and physicist, Cllr McKinstry, called for a review of the Galway Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy when it came to the number of cars that it allowed into the city.

“We should be working towards a car free city and encouraging the public to avail of public transport, walking or cycling,” he said and added that this would comply with recommendations under the Climate Action Plan.

But Cllr Michael Connolly (FF) launched an attack, saying it was not practical to have a car-free city from a rural perspective, particularly for those who do not have access to public transport.

“I know it is well-meaning, but when it comes to a Galway context, it is not workable because the infrastructure is not in place to bring people in and out of the city.

“The National Transport Authority (NTA) have pumped millions into the Dublin area for this purpose, but they are not going to do the same in Galway.

“Recently Galway City Council discussed Park & Ride facilities but the locations for these were all out in the county and they never even spoke to us about it.

“It is a bit dysfunctional, so it is impossible to support. There needs to be an overall transport strategy but that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda,” said Cllr Connolly.

Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) said that there was a major attempt to get a ring road for the city and there was a reason for this, and he expressed his disappointment it had now failed.

Directing his comments towards Cllr McKinstry, he said: “Are you living in the real world? You wanted to stop the ring road which you have done and now you want to ban cars from coming to the city. This is not right”.

“It’s airy-fairy stuff that is just not workable,” the councillor added.

According to Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind), those coming into the city to buy bulky items would require a car. He added that it would have an adverse impact on businesses in Galway if there was a car ban.

While Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) supported the motion on the basis that alternatives to accessing the city should be considered, it was defeated by the vast majority of councillors present.

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