Wednesday 14th February 2018
Press statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
Naughton Demands Speedier Resolution of Traffic Issue
The Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport today held a hearing on the ongoing traffic issues facing Galway. The meeting was addressed by Ms. Anne Graham, CEO, National Transport Authority; Mr. Brian Coll, Institute of Technology Sligo; Mr. Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive (Interim), Galway County Council; Mr. Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive, Galway City Council and Mr. Tony Neary, Vice President and General Manager, Medtronic, Galway.
Also in attendance was the TD for Galway West, Hildegarde Naughton.
“Today was an important opportunity for the Oireachtas to hear from both the business community and council/national transport officials in relation to the ongoing traffic saga in Galway with particular emphasis on Parkmore. However, it is frankly unbelievable that a Director of one of the biggest employers in Galway, Medtronic, has to appear before the Oireachtas due to the slow pace of progress. I think it fair to say that there isn’t one member of the Oireachtas from Galway satisfied with the response from officials to date,” said the Galway West TD.
“I made the point that after I arranged for the former Minister for Local Government, Simon Coveney, to meet with business leaders and council officials last year; a plan was put in place to tackle infrastructural development in Galway. Since then the ball has been dropped locally and there are still issues with implementation. The Government is willing to assist in any way possible. That is a given. It is simply a matter of proper planning locally,” said Deputy Naughton.
“I reiterated the fact that businesses in Parkmore and elsewhere are paying a vast amount to the local authority every year in rates, employing thousands directly and many more indirectly and are not being accommodated properly. In this day and age, when we are trying to attract employment regionally, it is simply not good enough,” Deputy Naughton noted.
“While I very much welcomed the latest progress on tackling city and Parkmore traffic, I am not satisfied that the urgency is there to deal with the matter in a comprehensive way. It seems to me that there is an over reliance on the prospective outer orbital route as a solution to all our ills. While this project is very much required, it may take up to ten years to deliver and we simply cannot wait. We urgently require properly planned park and ride facilities and cycling infrastructure. We need a clear plan for an integrated transport system and officials need to tell us where blockages are and where funding will be required. I made that very clear in my remarks at the Committee today,” the Galway deputy added.
“What I asked for today was clear timelines and a commitment by local officials to keep to them. I have also requested that a suitably qualified and experienced transport project manager be appointed to ensure accountability and proper direction. Surely that is not too much to ask for the people of Galway,” added Deputy Naughton.