Residents claim Galway City Council ignored their plight

Bartley and Noreen Collins with their B&B behind close to the Kirwan roundabout on the Headford Road.

One of the families most affected by the plan to remove the Kirwan roundabout has been ‘ignored’ by Galway City Council for the past two years.

That’s the claim of the Collins family, whose home and B&B on the N84 side of the Headford Road will require its own set of traffic lights – just for cars to get in and out the gates.

Seán Collins, son of Noreen and Bartley, said the family has been making representations the Council since plans for the signalised junction were first mooted – but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Glare from cars coming down from the direction of the Menlo Park Hotel will adversely affect the family, said Mr Collins, who argued any plans for “screening” would be ineffective.

An actuated traffic light – activated by vehicular movement – will be placed at the entrance to their properties, stopping traffic to allow them to exit.

However, Mr Collins believed this plan was ill-informed, as it required traffic to stop on some of the city’s most gridlocked roads, just to let the Collins family go about their business.

“It will not only stop traffic coming in the Headford Road but also the Menlo Park road and out from town,”he said.

A previous planning decision had flagged Sandyvale Lawn as a potential alternative exit for the Collins’ properties, but when that suggestion was raised, it was shot down by the Council.

The minutes from the Council meeting where plans for the roundabout were passed show Chief Executive Brendan McGrath told councillors that lands at Sandyvale Lawn were not in the ownership of the Council and it would be a matter for the landowners to consider consent to access.

Such an access point would amount to a material contravention of the City Development Plan and would require a public consultation process, he added.

Mr Collins said 12 of the 18 city councillors had been out to visit the entrance, and most agreed with the family, but plans were presented to elected members as one option – either for or against the proposal.

He said their house and business had not been included on a traffic simulation used to “sell” the new junction.

“We’re not trying to stop the changes to the roundabout. We never objected to that. It’s not that we want to use Sandyvale.

“If they can’t work out the finer detail now, it seems like they are making it up as they go along,” said Mr Collins of the lack of information on how exactly access to their property might work.