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Speed traps slammed as ‘ridiculous’ by local TD



Galway drivers are being caught for speeding, fined and hit with penalty points — for going barely above the legal speed limits.

That’s according to Galway West TD Noel Grealish, who has called for a system of staggered penalties for those who drive too fast, and plans to raise the issue in the Dáil next month.

And he has accused the government of using the GoSafe speed detecting vans to make money rather than contribute to safety.

Deputy Grealish said he had been struck by the number of drivers who had complained to him about being caught for speeding recently on certain stretches of road when they were only just over the limit.

The complaints particularly centred around GoSafe vans with speed detecting cameras located on the Dublin Road leading up to Renmore, the Tuam Road, and Connolly Avenue, which is the link road between Monivea Road and the Tuam Road.

“It’s like shooting fish in a barrel — one taxi driver I spoke to this week was doing seven kilometres an hour over the 50km limit going out the Tuam Road, and two or three days later he was caught again at a similar speed.

“He’s been landed with six penalty points on his licence — for travelling at only seven kilometres an hour above the limit. It’s ridiculous.”

The Galway West Independent TD has called for a gradually increasing penalty system for drivers.

“Look at the situation with regard to drink driving. If you’ve a certain level of alcohol in your blood you’re fined, if you go above that level you get a bigger fine and a six months ban, and depending on the level of alcohol after that you’re put off the road for two or three years

“We should have something similar for speeding offences. Going out the Tuam Road, if you’re caught doing 5 km above the speed limit, it should be just a fine, say a €40 or €50 fine.

“But if you’re caught doing 20 km above the limit, maybe it should be a bigger fine and one penalty point, with increasing penalties the greater the speed involved.”

He pointed out that many insurance companies hiked premiums for drivers with six points by anything from €300 to €500, which meant drivers were being penalised on the double.

“And if you are caught four times, you’re put off the road,” he added.

Deputy Grealish hit out at the Government and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald for not making road safety the top priority for the GoSafe speed detecting vans.

“This is only a revenue generating exercise — it’s ridiculous the places where these vans are being placed in the city and county,” he said.

Meanwhile, the City Council has said that it will be reviewing speed limits in the city later this year, when requests for an increased limit on the Tuam Road will be considered.

This was confirmed in a letter from Joe O’Neill, Director of Services for Planning & Transportation in response to Cllr Jim Cuddy, who said he had been “inundated” with complaints from motorists over the 50km an hour limit, between the entrance to the An Post sorting office and the entrance to Roadstone.

Cllr Cuddy said that drivers approaching the city from the Tuam direction went directly from 100 km/h to 50km/h, and there was big public support for increasing the limit on this wide road to 60 or 80km/h.

“Recently I was contacted by an old age pensioner who is looking after his sick wife at home and he was caught twice the one day for exceeding the 50km speed limit on this part of the road and got notices for a €160 fine and penalty points. Surely that was not the intention of the speed limit regulations,” he added.


Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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


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Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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