Close to 10,000 signatures have been collected in the petition demanding Transport Minister Shane Ross support the provision of light rail in Galway, with organisers confident they can secure another c20,000 signatures within the next four weeks.
Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly, one of the leading advocates for light rail in the city, and a key mover behind the petition, said the target is to present Minister Ross with 30,000 signatures in response to his statement that there was "no demand" for any type of GLUAS system.
Signatures began being collected on Saturday January 13, with a view to completion eight weeks from that date. Dep Connolly said the campaign was now at the halfway stage and claimed it ws "gathering momentum". Alongside the street campaign, signatures are also being collected in NUI Galway and GMIT, as well as in Athenry, Oranmore, An Cheathrú Rua, An Spidéal, and Moycullen.
Dep Connolly said she was confident this would result in the 30,000 signatures. She said a petition of this strength was vital as Minister Ross did say his "door was open" on the matter "if demand could be demonstrated". Following completion of the signature campaign there will be a further public meeting on a GLUAS system.
Dep Connolly, alongside fellow Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, and Brendan Holland, the chair of GLUAS Galway, along with other GLUAS team members, has already held what has been described as a "very positive" preliminary meeting with Minister Ross, where it was agreed that GLUAS representatives would make a presentation to the Department of Transport on this issue.
"The primary purpose of the campaign at this stage is to show the Minister that light rail is an essential element of any sustainable solution to the chronic traffic congestion problems in Galway," said Dep Connolly. "Of course, this must be in tandem with improved cycling and pedestrian facilities, park and ride options, and increased frequency of bus services in the city and county."
The TD is now calling on the public to "come on board" and sign the petition on Shop Street between 11am and 4pm, or to collect petitions to be completed in their own areas.