Could light rail be about to take a step closer to becoming a reality in Galway? Hopes were building among supporters this week following An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, saying the Government would not be opposed to carrying out a feasibility study on the issue.
The issue arose in the Dáil after Independent Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly, raised the judgment delivered by the Chief Justice on July 31, quashing the Government’s Climate Mitigation Plan.
In his judgement, the Chief Justice outlined that section four of the 2015 Act required the mitigation plan to be specific in order to allow interested members of the public to know enough about how the Government intends to meet the national transition objective by 2050.
Rather than being specific, the Chief Justice characterised significant parts of the plan as being “excessively vague” and “aspirational” and, as a result, it was quashed by the Supreme Court.
As a result of this judgement, Dep Connolly asked the Taoiseach what progress the government has made since that judgment in progressing a new plan.
'The Taoiseach said that, as an "enthusiast of light rail", Minister Eamon Ryan, was unlikely to have "any difficulty in committing to a feasibility study"'
The Galway West TD said any new plan was "a golden opportunity" for the Government to see "the possibilities for climate action, particularly in the area of public transport".
Dep Connolly said a light rail system for Galway could address the State's "national and international obligations" under climate change legislation, and she drew the Taoiseach’s attention to the petition calling on the Minister for Transport to carry out a feasibility study on light rail for Galway, which was signed by 24,000 people.
In response, the Taoiseach said the Government was "committed to public transport, including light rail" and that, as an "enthusiast of light rail", the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, was unlikely to have "any difficulty in committing to a feasibility study".
Dep Connolly welcomed the "positive statement" from the Taoiseach, and said she will continue to pursue this matter with the Taoiseach and the Minister.