Thursday, 7 October 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
This project is a key component of Galway transport strategy, which realises Galway city and county councils' vision of all elements of the transport system working together to achieve an integrated, sustainable transport system. The Galway city ring road would free up free up road space in the city by removing through traffic. That road space could be used for improved public transport services and active travel modes, while improving air quality and reducing noise levels. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the timeline for this vital regional project. As I said, the oral hearing commenced on 18 February 2020 and concluded on 4 November 2020 due to a seven-month gap in proceedings as a result of Covid. I am confident that An Bord Pleanála will make its decision next month and I am hopeful for a positive outcome.
The programme for Government commits to a 2:1 ratio of spending on new public transports over new roads. This commitment has been confirmed in the NDP, published this week, which makes clear that substantial funding will be made available over the coming decade for new national road programmes and projects. As the principal economic centre in the west, Galway city is critical to employment in the region and this project would contribute towards ensuring the city is able to cater for future economic expansion and development.