Galway City Council is to work with residents in three housing estates to carry out the closure of alleyways providing public rights of way in an effort to combat on-going anti-social behaviour.
At a recent meeting of the Galway City Council a proposal for the extinguishment of public right of ways in Monalee Heights at Ballymoneen Road, Knocknacarra, Rockfield Park in Rahoon, and Sceilg Ard, Headford Road was passed by councillors. A proposal to extinguish public rights of way at Ashleigh Grove/Portacarron, Knocknacarra has been deferred until a report of talks with residents on alternative solutions is made available.
The proposal is as a result of representations from individuals, residents associations, and elected representatives. Further consultations will now take place with residents to ascertain the best way to close off the alleyways. It is understood that the erection of gates could be the preferred option as these could be opened by residents during the day, closed at night, while still providing access to public lighting, water, and drainage services.
Four alleyways in Monalee Heights are to be extinguished. These are located between 95/96 Monalee Heights and 63/64 Monalee Heights, between 57/58 Monalee Heights and 47/48 Monalee Heights, between 23 Monalee Heights and 24 Monalee Heights, and between 75 Monalee Heights and 76 Monalee Heights. According to the proposal submitting to councillors at this week’s meeting a submission from the residents’ association stated that 83 per cent of respondants to a survey supported extinguishing the rights of way.
Formally proposing the extinguishment of these alleyways, Knocknacarra based councillor Donal Lyons told the chamber that residents of Monalee Heights have been having a lot of problems with anti-social behaviour. He further explained that crowds have been assembling late at night drinking and drug taking, that houses have been broken into, and lawnmowers and other property taken out of sheds and burnt. He added there were even attempts to set fire to oil tanks.
However, director of services Billy Dunne replied that although there has been a lot of anti-social behaviour, extinguishing the alleyways altogether goes against the council’s policy of keeping connectivity through estates and is contrary to the walking and cycling strategy. He added that the council would like to work with residents to provide alternative solutions as these alleyways also act as service corridors. City manager Brendan McGrath then suggested erecting the gates and for residents to take responsibility for opening them during the day.
Other alleyways to be extinguished include one between 62/84 Rockfield and 66/79 Rockfield and another between 78 and 79 Rockfield. An alleyway between 1 Sceilg Ard and 30 Sceilg Ard is also to be extinguished. Mr Dunne also objected to these proposals adding that it would result in a long route around for residents to nearby shops. This was backed by Cllr Michael Crowe who voiced concerns that it would had a significant journey around and every option should be explored.
However, Cllr Tom Costello explained that a house in the area had all the back windows smashed in with stones. Cllr Terry O’Flaherty also added that a number of meetings have taken place in Sceilg Ard and residents prefer to walk around as the alleyways “have been a scourge”.