“Outlandish” and “unfeasible” is how a Galway TD has described a situation where plans for a new ring road system for the city sees bog cotton take on a higher priority than people’s homes.
Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh has described new proposals for the N6 Galway City Transport Project as “madness” and called for plans to return to the original Galway City Outer Bypass route.
The original GCOB route was scrapped, following a decision by the European Court, leading to plans being drawn up for six route options for the new ring road. These went on public display recently, but if constructed could see as many as 130 family homes having to be demolished.
The new routes have caused outrage among politicians and the public, with Dep Walsh noting that “the original bypass was stopped because it threatened to damage bog cotton, but there appears to be no such reservations about bulldozing people’s homes.”
Dep Walsh argues that the damage inflicted on the city by the new routes would be immense. Not only would it involve compulsory purchase orders being delivered to families and the demolition of their homes, it would also lead to villages like Barna and Menlo being “damaged or destroyed”, while Ballybrit Racecourse would also be negatively affected.
“It is preposterous that we’re talking about putting people out of their homes for the sake of a small area of limestone paving and some bog cotton. This has to be about people, not plants or paving.”
Dep Walsh argues that a variation of the original GCOB could be progressed under Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest. He believes it would present an alternative that could be completed “quicker and at a fraction of the cost of what is now being proposed”.
The IROPI planning process allows authorities to apply for permission to develop infrastructure notwithstanding its impact on environmentally sensitive sites.
“I would urge stakeholders to look again at the possibility of advancing a variation of the original route through the IROPI process,” he said, “rather than embarking on a wild-goose chase in relation to plans that either cannot or should not ever happen