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CITY TRIBUNE

Time City Hall treats public with the respect it deserves

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The Transport Department at City Hall has developed a rather cavalier attitude to the public it is supposed to serve.

And it’s not just over residential parking permits, although that whole episode – which is not over yet – is indicative of a disconnect between officials and the public, and with public representatives.

That city councillors felt the need to call a special meeting and bring a Section 140 motion compelling the Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, to end the practice of refusing parking permits on the basis that people have driveways, says it all.

Section 140s are rarely used ‘nuclear’ options for elected members when they feel other efforts at solving issues are being frustrated.

The bould Brendan may be proved right in his assertion the motion was “invalid”, but to paraphrase Cllr Mike Crowe (FF), how did management let it come to this, by ignoring advice and the will of elected members?

The cavalier attitude is also evident in relation to legitimate questions. This newspaper asked recently whether the Council’s new bicycle parking infrastructure needed planning before being installed. A “stupid” question, apparently, according to a Council spokesperson. (For the record, no, they don’t require planning permission).

There was no certainty given either as to why certain locations for the bike infrastructure was chosen.

Bike racks are great and welcome and we need more, but are they part of a thought-through plan to encourage people out of their cars, or is the Council just plonking them anywhere there’s a bit of space, to placate the cycling lobby, as they plough on with the city’s bypass?

Here’s another example of the Transport Department treating the public with, to put it mildly, not a lot of respect.

It appears to be unofficial policy for some time now, that the Council no longer flags in advance roadworks, or road closures. There was a time when the travelling public was kept informed of any potential delays and disruption, but, alas, no more. Road works commenced at Upper Dominick Street on Monday, where there were lane closures at night to facilitate Gas Networks Ireland. The Council had to be prompted into confirming that letter drops took place to some businesses and residents last Friday – but the general public who use that street to traverse town, wasn’t informed.

Ditto at Headford Road inbound, where there were lanes closures and a closed bus lane at night to facilitate gas works. The closures had the potential to be quite dangerous for motorists approaching who are unaware of them.

This area “is non-residential”, the Council said, and so there were no leaflet drops but “Dunnes’ in Terryland were informed about the works”.

Asked why the public was kept in the dark, the Council said: “Lane closures are generally not advertised unless the works have the potential to cause significant disruption.”

Manners costs nothing, and neither does an advance press release to newspapers, or a social media posting, about impending traffic disruption, no matter how minor.

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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