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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Red tape’ stalls Barna greenway

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The Barna Greenway appears to have fallen foul of State bureaucracy after it failed to be included in the latest round of cycle and pedestrian paths to be funded by the Government.

In a parliamentary question by Galway West TD Catherine Connolly last July, Transport Minister Shane Ross replied that the greenway was proposed by the Galway Transport Strategy and implementation of that strategy was a matter for the local authorities.

Funding from his Department was available to support the rollout of projects administered by the National Transport Authority (NTA), he said, and referred Deputy Connolly’s question to them.

However, the agency replied last month that while the NTA was responsible for funding urban cycle routes in regional cities such as Galway, the funding of greenways nationally, including the Barna Greenway, is the responsibility of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Deputy Connolly then wrote to Galway City Council, asking if the project had been included in the latest budget.

In their response, a spokesperson for the Transportation Department stated that nationally all greenways were paused by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport until a national strategy was developed.

“As such, the Barna Greenway was paused and is not included in our current 2019 Annual Service Plan and we have no budget provision for same.”

The Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways was launched back in July, 2018 which called for applications from local authorities for greenways to be built up to 2021.

The last Government announcement on greenways was in June when Minister Ross and Minister of State, Brendan Griffin, announced funding for ten greenway projects around the country under Project Ireland 2040.

Included was €2.6m for the 21km stretch of the Connemara Greenway between Clifden and Recess. There was no mention of the greenway from Barna to Salthill, through the Claddagh, onto Ravens Terrace, along the Eglinton Canal, meeting the Connemara Greenway which begins at Dangan.

Spokesman for the Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, Tiernan McCusker, said the group together with a delegation of community organisations planned to meet with the City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath to see if any progress could be made on the project.

Deputy Connolly said she was “taken aback and disappointed” to learn that no provision had been made in the 2019 budget for the Barna greenway.

“And even more alarming was the reason given by Galway City Council – that the project was paused until a national strategy was developed. That strategy had already been published in July 2018, almost six months before the budget was agreed,” she fumed.

“The Barna Greenway is a vital piece of infrastructure and the rollout of same should be a matter of priority in keeping with government policy. The City Council has to show leadership and make provision for Barna Greenway in the 2020.”

The Alliance has been organising a family cycle between the Claddagh and Salthill every month to highlight the need for a safe and segregated walking route. The next cycle takes place this Sunday morning from Claddagh Hall at 11am.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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