Tuesday, 26th February 2019
Press Statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
Planning approval for an extension of Galway Port later this year would free up around 30 acres of the inner harbour for development, paving the way for the city to be reshaped and enhanced.
That’s according to local Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, who said the development of the inner harbour area would turn the city to face the sea, and create huge potential for cultural and tourism initiatives.
The current deficit in terms of office space, hotel accommodation, and residential properties could also be addressed through proper planning for the vast new space in the heart of the city.
A decision is expected from An Bord Pleanála in the coming months on an application by Galway Harbour Company to extend the harbour area into the bay, thereby vacating acres of land surrounding the existing Docks.
The development would allow for larger ships to dock in Galway, as they are currently restricted by the shallow depth of the harbour and other infrastructural constraints. The city could also expect a tourism boost as cruise liners would be able to use the new harbour for stopovers.
“A positive decision from An Bord Pleanála would provide us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the city and address many of its current difficulties by creating a 30-acre blank canvas for planning in the heart of the town,” said Deputy Naughton.
“It would unlock enormous potential for us to maximise Galway’s potential as a coastal city, turning to face the bay, and availing of the natural beauty of our location,” she added.
“Cultural and tourism initiatives, as well as the arts, could be central to planning in the new development area. The city’s shortage of urban accommodation, hotel beds, office and commercial space could also be adequately addressed.”
The Galway West TD said that Galway had been allowed to sprawl and develop as a cluster of suburbs, but the inner harbour represents an opportunity to rectify historical deficits in planning and shortages of certain types of space.
“The Government has approved and funded the development of a masterplan for the inner harbour under the Urban Development Regeneration Fund. This are also masterplans for Sandy Road/Liosban and Nun’s Island,” said Deputy Naughton.
She said that the development of the inner harbour would also provide homes for families within the city centre, providing a population that would support schools and businesses in the urban area.
The redevelopment of the harbour would also secure the future of Galway Port, which is currently limited in its commercial activity due to the constraints of the existing infrastructure.
“Galway as a port has a history stretching back 1,000 years. Unless it’s allowed to grow and compete with other commercial harbours, it’s likely to close. We can’t allow that to happen if we, as a nation, are serious about regional development,” warned Deputy Naughton.
“Neither is the inner harbour the appropriate place, from a health and safety perspective, to be offloading combustible fuels. The development of the outer harbour would effectively take this activity offshore.”