McDonnell lashes into Greens over city traffic woes

A former Mayor of Galway has launched a stinging attack on the Green Party, saying that they must bear a lot of the blame for Galway’s never-ending traffic flow crisis.

Cllr Declan McDonnell, an Independent candidate in the Galway City East electoral area, said that the party had done everything it could to stymie progress on the proposed Galway Ring Road.

“They have made no secret of their opposition to the building of a new road, which everybody else in the city knows is a vital component of any realistic solution to Galway’s traffic woes.

“They have opposed every effort to find a ring road or bypass solution to a problem that affects thousands of people who are stuck in their cars in never-ending slow traffic every day.

“They claim it would be bad for the environment – but what about the enormous amount of pollution being spewed out by slow-moving cars, trucks and buses? And they seem to forget that by the time a ring road is built, emissions from cars will be greatly reduced compared to even a few years ago,” he said.

“Senator Pauline O’Reilly, who is running for a European Parliament seat, was very quickly out out of the blocks and seeking legal advice on how to overturn the decision of An Bord Pleanála when they initially granted planning permission for the ring road two and a half years ago.

“She got the ball rolling and it all ended up with the High Court sending the project back to An Bord Pleanála, on the basis that they hadn’t considered the Government’s new Climate Action Plan.

“And her colleagues who are running for seats on Galway City Council are no better. I fully accept that the ring road, on its own, is not the solution to Galway’s traffic woes, but it would certainly make a huge difference and they cannot stand in the way of what is the will of the vast majority of people in the city,” he added.

“I fully support looking at every possible way to solve our traffic problems – but I firmly believe that a ring road, with a fifth bridge over the Corrib, is a major priority and a vital first step. Apart from the inconvenience for commuters, people from around the county are avoiding coming into the city, we are also losing out on investment and the jobs that would bring, as a direct result of the traffic.

“We now have to wait until September, by which time Galway County Council and the project team are due to have updated all their reports as requested by An Bord Pleanála, and then it will take some time before the board makes its decision again.

“The Green Party candidates need to be asked the question: are they then going to continue to challenge and stand in the way of this vital piece of infrastructure, which will be such a relief to road users and also end the agony for the 50-plus homeowners on the route of the ring road who have been living in limbo for years?”


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