It’s time to put people before conservation areas, says McCormack

The proposed New Road R336 Barna to Rosamhíl road does not have to go through people’s houses or through their private land, especially not when there are other solutions available.

This is the view of Fine Gael Galway West TD Pádraic McCormack who was speaking on the Galway County Council’s proposals for the new roadway which are currently before consultants.

The consultants are examining five different possible routes for the roadway. However Dep McCormack said most of these proposed routes are causing “great concern to families whose houses and farmland are on some of the routes”.

The affected areas are in Lippa, Park East, Park, Park Middle, and Park West which includes a number of villages which lie off the Coast Road at Furbo.

Dep McCormack said three of the proposed routes would cut right through the hearth of these settlements while a fourth would go so close to houses that it would cause “devastation and irreplaceable damage”.

“These are among the best preserved examples of the old ‘clachán’ style settlements that were once the norm in Connemara and other parts,” he said. “The old ruins are still in tact and also original thatched houses more than 200 years old are still in use.

He also said the roads would divide farmers from their farmland.

“Many farmers would find themselves living one side of the road and most of their land on the other side,” he said. “Many of the original boreens and pathways used by land owners to get to and from fields would be destroyed.”

Following discussions with locals in the Furbo area, Dep McCormack said there is “an obvious solution” to the issue and that is the most northerly route (coloured brown on the council maps ). While this route would go through commonage it would not affect settlements, houses, or farmland and is the route favoured by local residents.

Dep McCormack is appealing to the county councillors to favour the Brown Route when the consultants bring their report before next month’s council meeting.

The Brown Route, though, is a proposed Natural Heritage Area and objections may come from the Wild Life Section of the Office of Public Works. However Dep McCormack said there is also wildlife, ash trees, shrubs and other growth, along all the other routes.

“I will be raising this matter in the Dáil and will be appealing to the Minister for Environment to let commence sense prevail,” he said. “It is possible to have essential infrastructure built on an NRA or SAC area if it doesn’t affect the integrity of the area. It is time human consideration took precedence over any proposed NHA area.”

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