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Ten years on – no progress on plan to extend port


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Ten years on – no progress on plan to extend port Ten years on – no progress on plan to extend port

This coming January marks the 10th anniversary of the lodgement of a planning application to An Bord Pleanála for an extension to Galway Harbour – a decade later, there is still no decision and the port claims it is turning away business.

And despite reporting healthy financial accounts, chairman Maurice O’Gorman has warned that access and size restrictions at the port had impeded its ability to grow and fully service the western region.

“We continue to turn away business due to these restrictions,” Mr O’Gorman said.

The planning application for a deepwater port capable of taking larger vessels was lodged with ABP on January 10, 2014.

It was submitted through the Strategic Infrastructure Act under the Habitats Directive, known as IROPI (Imperative Reasons of Over-Riding Public Interest).

An oral hearing was held over two days in January 2015, where submissions from individuals and organisations were heard.

In September of that year, ABP requested the port to submit its plans for how it was going to compensate for the negative impact the development would have on Galway Bay Special Area of Conservation.

The impact included the loss of Fucoid-dominated reef habitat, mud and sand flat habitat and perennial vegetation of stony banks.

Compensatory proposals were lodged in November 2015. But ABP requested that there would be tight co-operation between itself, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the harbour.

Following negotiations, the final compensatory proposal was lodged in April 2019. Then in 2021, ABP asked for more detail, and Mr O’Gorman said the harbour has responded and addressed the issues.

Pictured: It’s almost a decade since Galway Harbour Company first lodged plans with An Bord Pleanála for a deepwater port, capable of taking larger vessels. PHOTO JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

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