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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

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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