Jobs lost to Mervue over a ‘technicality’, says Walsh

An opportunity to provide three new jobs in Mervue was dealt a blow this week when plans to rezone a site at the Mervue Shopping Centre were opposed over a technicality.

This is the view of Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh, who was reacting to The Labour Party’s opposition to his and Independent councillor Declan McDonnell’s call to vary the current city development plan at Monday’s city council meeting.

Both councillors sought to rezone an area at the rear of the Mervue Shopping Centre on Plunkett Avenue from residential to commercial and industrial.

In this area there is a large structure which has planning permission to be used as a storage facility. Some time ago the property became available to sell. An interested party became keen to acquire the site, looking to turn it into a car and tyre repair centre.

The individual approached City Hall with a view to lodging a planing application but was informed that such an application would be turned down owing to the need for rezoning.

On Monday councillors Walsh and McDonnell sought to get a rezoning of the site in order to give the application a chance of success. However the Labour councillors and Independent Catherine Connolly opposed the move.

Labour cited a case from a couple of months ago, where a call for rezoning of land in Mervue was resisted by city manager Joe MacGrath on the basis that it would be premature to make such a decision when the new Galway City Development Plan for 2011 to 2017 is in the process of receiving its initial draft. As such Labour and Cllr Connolly opposed the motion and it was defeated.

Speaking afterwards to the Galway Advertiser Cllr Walsh said he and Cllr McDonnell will be aiming to put forward this motion again at the next city council meeting.

“We cannot wait until 2011 as it will be too late by then,” he said. “It was very shortsighted of Labour to oppose this as the man interested in making the application is interested in providing three new jobs to the area. He has the support of the local traders and residents. Councillors have an obligation to help provide jobs and support business and we failed at that by not supporting this motion.”

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