Galway West Fianna Fáil TD and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Transport Committee Frank Fahey TD is encouraging the people of Galway to show their support for the Galway City Outer Bypass as the Supreme Court cases on challenges to the Bypass approach.
He is also offering to run field trips on the Bypass for members of the public who are interested in learning more about the Bypass, its route, and the efforts that have been made to mitigate the environmental impact of the project.
“The two legal challenges against plans for the Bypass are due to come up in the Supreme Court in the next couple of weeks. The Sweetman versus An Bord Pleanala case will then be heard by the Supreme Court on June 2nd and the Hands Across the Corrib Ltd versus An Bord Pleanala will be heard on June 10th,” Deputy Fahey explained.
“At this important crossroad for the project, I want to encourage the people to Galway to make their voices heard, and to get behind the Bypass.”
“The M17/M18 contract is due to be signed in November, and local construction workers are already anticipating the huge boost this will provide for the industry.”
“However, the Galway City Outer Bypass would have a much more significant impact on the local economy. With a spend of €500 million involved, many jobs would be created and business for suppliers would increase.”
“As it approaches this significant crossroads, it is important that the public shows its support for the project. Hundreds of people have signed my online petition already and I will be continuing the campaign door to door in the coming weeks.”
Deputy Fahey explained that the cases being heard by the Supreme Court have three possible outcomes:
1 ) If the Supreme Court find in favour of Galway County Council ‘it is more likely than not’ that the Commission would begin infringement proceedings against Ireland. Over the interpretation of the Habitats Directive. (See enclosed meetings with Commission officials ).
2 ) If the Supreme Court finds in favour of the objectors against Galway County Council, the development can only proceed if, in the opinion of the European Commission, it can be demonstrated that the development must be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, no alternative options exist, and all necessary compensatory measures have been taken. Officials from the European Commission have suggested that such an opinion could be delivered quite quickly, assuming that the County Council have a case prepared for consideration.
3 ) The Supreme Court could decide to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice now for a ‘preliminary hearing’ and this would allow the Irish courts to seek advice on the interpretation of the Habitat Directive. This would take approximately 18 months. Ministers Noel Dempsey and John Gormley are of the view that the most appropriate way forward would be if the Supreme Court made an early referral of the interpretation of the EU Directive to the European Court of Justice for its view on who has the final decision on the issue.
Deputy Fahey said that while the point of law on the point of interpretation of the habitat is being examined, the planning of the Bypass should be allowed to proceed.
Deputy Fahey said there is a lot of interest from members of the public about the Bypass and he is organising field trips to the areas affected; “I will be organising for environmental consultants to explain the impact of the Bypass on the limestone pavement in Menlo, the slender bog cotton in Tornabrocky bog, and the proposed bridge crossing point. Anyone interested in going on one of the field trips can contact his office at 091 771020 or by email on [email protected]”
He concluded by saying: “Galway City and Connemara needs this Bypass and it cannot afford to be delayed any further, the development and growth of the city is being hindered with each day that passes in this legal wrangle, and I am urging the people of Galway to show their support for the development of the Bypass.
Deputy Fahey again asked people to show their support for the Bypass by signing his online petition at http://www.fiannafail.ie/page/s/galwaybypass.