FG not a hit with Nolan but Hildegarde certainly is
By Kernan Andrews
If Fine Gael, and Fianna Fáil, had more councillors like Hildegarde Naughton in their ranks then planning in the city would be much better off.
This is the view of Labour councillor Derek Nolan who has applauded Cllr Naughton for her principled stand against potentially controversial rezoning decisions at last Monday’s city council meeting.
Cllr Nolan also hit back at criticism from Fine Gael Cllr Brian Walsh, who accused Labour of trying to “have it both ways” when voting on proposed rezonings in the Draft Galway City Development Plan.
Cllr Walsh said Labour was “denying families the opportunity to build homes on family owned land” while at the same time “introducing large scale rezoning requests which would have a far greater impact on the future development of the city”.
In response Cllr Nolan said Labour did not actually bring forward any rezoning proposals to the draft plan and that he “will not take a lecture from Fine Gael on planning, nor entertain smears designed to save their own necks”.
“Cllr Tom Costello did bring forward proposals but was very clear that he was doing so in a personal capacity,” said Cllr Nolan. “The reality is a majority of Labour councillors voted against his first proposal, which was seconded by Cllr Walsh, and it was Labour councillors who requested he withdraw his second proposal in the knowledge we would not support it.”
Cllr Nolan said “some really terrible rezonings took place” at the meeting. As an example he pointed out a FG/FF proposal to allow houses on two sites on the bay side of the old Coast Road to Oranmore.
“These would have obscured beautiful scenic views, override existing conservation policy and set a dangerous precedent for the future,” he said.
Cllr Nolan branded Cllr Walsh’s criticism of Labour as “misleading and dishonest”. He also said it was “designed to deflect attention” from the fact that, while councillors Walsh and Conneely voted for rezoning proposals, their FG colleague Hildegarde Naughton voted against them.
“I was delighted, however, to be on the same side as Cllr Naughton on every single vote,” he said. “Indeed, if there were more like Cllr Naughton in the ranks of FG and FF, planning in Galway would be a lot better off.”