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Connacht Tribune

Ring Road: schools and poor planning are to blame for traffic chaos

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A photomontage of how the proposed fifth bridge over the River Corrib would look.

Schools and poor planning are to blame for much of Galway City’s traffic problems, according to An Taisce.

In its submission to the oral hearing for the proposed N6 Galway City Ring Road, An Taisce claimed that the historic positioning of primary, secondary and third level facilities in the centre of Galway is a major cause of traffic congestion.

An Taisce representative, Peter Butler, said that school traffic in the morning and afternoons has a disproportionately high impact on traffic in the city. Indeed, the Galway resident claims that without school traffic “there is not a traffic congestion problem in Galway”.

Mr Butler highlighted a number of other contributing factors to congestion in his submission including a lack of bus lanes and the lack of a year-round park and ride facility.

This is a preview only. For extensive coverage across four pages of the Ring Road oral hearing, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. Buy a digital edition of the paper here.

“These traffic congestion problems have come about from a history of doing nothing but waiting for a bypass to come along. This is not good planning. These problems should have been solved well ahead of time,” he said.

“The city has been allowed to develop in a way which has forced the need for these ring roads. The houses have been allowed to be built on one side of the river and the jobs on the other side. Now we end up with a crisis and another road is being seen as the solution.”

Mr Butler claimed that the situation of schools at city centre locations, and away from population centres, is the main cause of the traffic gridlock in Galway.

Referencing a section of the Galway Transport Strategy (GTS) he says that 35 per cent of the traffic at peak times is between home and education.

“Without the school traffic there is not a traffic congestion problem in Galway. That statement [from the GTS] has not been picked up upon and analysed enough,” he said.

Meanwhile, it was claimed at the oral hearing this week that it is “utterly unsustainable” to proceed with the Galway City Ring Road project in the next decade at a time when huge efforts are being made to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Chartered Engineer and sustainability campaigner Brendan Mulligan told the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing for the proposed N6 Ring Road that the development would cut through a 17.5km swathe of land – resulting the destruction, displacement, disturbance and fragmentation of vital natural habitats for thousands of species.

Speaking at the hearing module examining the ecology and hydrogeology elements of the project, Mr Mulligan said the construction of this road would be happening at a time when biodiversity loss was the “greatest environmental challenge facing humanity”.

“Yet biodiversity underpins the ecological functions that provide the many natural goods and services on which life, livelihoods and sustainable living depends,” Mr Mulligan told the hearing on Monday.

This was the last generation that had an opportunity to prevent the collapse of the planet’s biodiversity in the face of habitat destruction and climate change – something Mr Mulligan said was recognised by the declaration of a climate change and biodiversity emergency by the Dáil in May 2019.

The construction of the Ring Road would contradict that, he said.

(Picture shows a photomontage of how the proposed fifth bridge over the River Corrib would look.)

Connacht Tribune

Shannon back in full flight!

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Turlough O'Neill, Ryanair Base Captain at Shannon; Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine, and First Officer Virginie Blazin, pictured at Shannon Airport at the announcement of new services to Corfu and Gran Canaria.

There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.

The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.

All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.

Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.

To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.

A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.

Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks

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The Clockworks...supporting Pixies on September tour.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.

Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.

In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.

On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.

With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.

“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.

“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.

“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

All out in force to cheer home one of their own

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Fiona Murtagh…back home with her Olympic medal on Sunday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.

Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.

That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.

The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.

“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.

Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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