Salthill is being allowed to turn into a public caravan park with camper vans parked indiscriminately at various locations and tents pitched in public parks.
That was the view of Cllr Peter Keane, who has called on the Galway City Council to “step up to the mark” and enforce by-laws prohibiting public camping in the city.
Cllr Keane said he had contacted City Hall demanding an explanation as to why by-laws were not enforced over the bank holiday weekend.
Currently the local authority has seven full-time community wardens with one temporary community warden, a situation which Cllr Keane described as “totally inadequate” and has demanded a review of the matter by the city manager.
“The residents and commercial rate-payers in Salthill are being totally neglected by City Hall,” he said this week. According to Cllr Keane senior management in City Hall refused to allocate the required overtime necessary to provide full cover on what he described was the busiest weekend of the year in Salthill, with no community warden on duty in the city on the Bank Holiday Monday.
“The city was a free for all last weekend and this is disgraceful management,” Cllr Keane fumed. “To add insult to injury people pitched their tents in Salthill Park with absolute disregard for our by-laws and there was zero enforcement by city officials.”
Cllr Keane has demanded an explanation as to why Salthill was ignored from an enforcement viewpoint. “I am conscious that it was the biggest weekend in our tourist calendar with a bank holiday weekend ending the Race Week festival and Galway playing Monaghan in Pearse Stadium, which in itself drew huge crowds to Salthill, and this is to be welcomed, but we have community wardens for a reason. You would not see this type of thing in other major seaside destinations like Tramore or Bray, but it seems OK to accept this type of behaviour in Galway.”
A spokesperson for Galway City Council said this week that a number of elected representatives had raised the issue over the weekend, and that the local authority took steps to enforce by-laws when it became aware of the situation.
“Cllr Keane’s concerns are concerns that were raised by three of the other West Ward councillors,” the spokesperson said. “As soon as the issue was advised to us and as soon as we had the resources to deal with the situation we had personnel on the ground.”
The spokesperson added that the vast majority of those camped in Salthill Park left the area at the request of the community wardens.