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Speed traps slammed as ‘ridiculous’ by local TD

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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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CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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