Pledges that Knocknacarra, the city’s most populated suburb, would be promoted as a location for investment, have not been met, and there remains “no indication” of any new industries locating there.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD, Noel Grealish, who is calling on the IDA to live up to promises made in 2018 regarding Knocknacarra. He noted that the area is ripe for such development, with “dozens of acres of land” in Knocknacarra and the adjoining Rahoon area, zoned for enterprise and industrial use under the Galway City Development Plan.
“It shouldn’t be a difficult sell,” he said. “There are a number of companies already established in the area. Allergan and Aviva and RSA insurance companies prove Knocknacarra is an excellent location. Potentially, you could have thousands of jobs provided on these lands.”
He said companies locating there would have the benefit of “a huge local population living within a few minutes’ commute”. He added there would also be environmental benefits as well. “Most of the people who would be employed there could walk or cycle to work,” he said. “Traffic congestion is one of the biggest problems facing Galway and anything that can help to reduce the number of vehicles on our crowded roads is a good thing. Freeing up the roads has an important benefit to the environment.”
In 2018, Dep Grealish and Independent Galway City West councillor, Donal Lyons, met with the IDA chief executive, and senior IDA executives, in Dublin to discuss the possibility of having plans brought forward to develop the industrial zoned lands at Rahoon, close to Gateway Park.
“They told us they were fully committed to bringing new industry to the areas,” said Dep Grealish, “and they stressed the importance of retaining the industrial zoning on lands in Rahoon. But while their intentions were good, the IDA hasn’t brought any companies into the area since then. They really need to do more.”
Dep Grealish raised the issue in the Dáil with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, asking him what plans there were to secure new enterprise for the west side of the city.
Tánaiste Varadkar said IDA Ireland was familiar with privately owned industrial zoned lands available in Knocknacarra and that they would continue to market these lands to potential investors.
However, Dep Grealish said that while similar commitments had previously been made, and Knocknacarra - home to more than 17,000 people, the vast majority of whom work outside the area - is still waiting for any indication of interest from industry and enterprise in setting up in the area.