Huge Support for
Integrated Regional Transport Initiative for Galway and its
Calls for Great Southern
Hotel, Eyre Square to be returned to CIE
Huge attendance brands meeting a success says
Press Release from Michael D
At last Thursday's nights meeting in the Great Southern
Hotel, Eyre Square, a capacity attendance filled the
ballroom to discuss the proposal for an Integrated Public
Transport System for Galway and its Region.
Organised by the Labour Party, speakers included Stephen
Murphy, C.I.E. General Manager Routes Southern and Western
Rail, Brian Guckian. Light Rail Researcher, Colmán
Ó Raghallaigh of West on Track and Michael D. Higgins
T. D. who introduced the proposal and chaired the
The City Council Development Plan, The Galway County and
Galway City Council Transportation and Planning Study, the
City Council Submission to the Department of Finance, the
Rail Strategic Study, the Galway Bus Strategy Study; the
proposals of the Spatial Strategy and Transport 21 were all
summarised and presented to the meeting.
The timescale of these different Plans, Reports and
Consultancies are not the same. While they refer to each
other they are not integrated in terms of their assumptions.
While the Ardaun Corridor and Settlement area is mentioned
in nearly all there is a real concern that this building
block in the City Council's and the Transportation Study's
proposals has not been agreed or finalised.
There was unanimous agreement on the need for the
planning and delivery of Integrated Transport to be brought
under an Integrated Regional Transport Authority to which
the different planning authorities, in both physical and
transport planning would make their submissions.
Such an Integrated Regional Transport Authority that
could taking social as well as economic considerations into
account in planning for the region and could, plan for the
medium and long term as well as the short terms of five
years to which City and County Development Plans are
There was unanimous agreement on the need to ensure that
the 14 acre Ceannt Station Site for which C.I.E. have sought
proposals from the public through Murray & O'Laoire
Architects be reserved for present and future transport
The integration of the Great Southern Hotel with the site
of Ceannt Station as a modern Regional Transport hub offered
a magnificent opportunity, it was felt, to have a 21st
century integrated transport centre for Galway and its
The need to co-ordinate existing bus and train timetables
was raised by some of the large number of commuters who
attended. There was discussion also on the needs of those
with a disability and the particular problems of rural
dwellers in this regard.
Proposals were put forward for better secure and safe
facilities for cyclists. The representative of Iarnroid
Eireann, Stephen Murphy said that issues like these could be
solved in the short term.
The discussion showed that there were in fact a
significant number of proposals that could be implemented in
the immediate short term. These included the implementation
of bus lane proposals, which needed to be brought forward as
an immediate priority, rather than being made to wait until
road proposals had all be completed.
Many speakers called for a National Transport Authority
of which the National Roads Authority would be one
Reporting on a recent set of Dail Questions, Deputy
Higgins told the meeting that in the context of Transport
21, which is the Governments blueprint for transport in the
National Development Plan, no proposals were with Government
for even a feasibility study for light rail. The meeting was
in favour of the City and County Council's receiving a
presentation on, and seeking funding for, a feasibility
study for Light Rail.
There was a welcome for the inclusion of the Western Rail
Corridor on a phased basis in Transport 21. It was felt,
however, that work could begin immediately on phase one and
phase two between Claremorris and Ennis. The building of a
new station at Oranmore has been accepted in principle in
Transport 21, the meeting felt that this was an essential
part of the Transport Proposals and should begin
The vision of a new Ceannt Station, offering integrated
bus and rail facilities with provision for cyclists,
pedestrians and car parking and drop off drew enthusiastic
support from all present.
The meeting heard of the capacity of the new centre to be
a real regional hub combining light city rail, commuter
services, light rail, integrated bus services and a first
class facility for catering and other services as the Great
Southern Hotel is returned to C.I.E.
The feeling was unanimous that Eyre Square's Great
Southern should be returned by the Dublin Airport Authority
from the general tendering process which closes on June
23rd; that C.I.E should open discussions for the
reacquisition , and that the local authorities in the region
should support this proposal.
The meeting unanimously endorsed the general proposal for
an Integrated Regional Transport Authority for Galway and
its Region and pledged to continue the campaign for it.