The management of neighbouring port is behaving “like a spoiled child” in lodging an objection to the proposed redevelopment of Galway Port.
That’s according to Galway West Deputy Brian Walsh, who has accused the Shannon Foynes Port Company of seeking to “torpedo” Galway Harbour Company’s plans for growth.
A submission was made to An Bord Pleanála by HRA Planning Consultants on behalf of Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), which asserted that the commercial aspects of the proposed Galway Port redevelopment, including commercial quays, deep water docking facility, jetties, yards and associated dredging, were contrary to European and national ports policy.
In its submission of 11 March, SFPC states that the Galway Port plan “fails to recognise the hierarchical structure of ports at a national and international level”.
“The proposed development has the potential…to compromise the future potential development of Tier One ports,” continued the submission.
The submission also details SFPC’s Masterplan Vision 2041, which details its proposed growth over the next three decades.
However, Galway West Deputy Walsh, who was a member of the original Strategic Development Committee that first advanced the proposals for Galway Port, said the SFPC, which was called before the Oireachtas Transport Committee in 2010, should “focus on getting their own house in order rather than concerning themselves with Galway”.
“I am disgusted that Shannon Foynes Port Authority would try to torpedo Galway’s imminent and realistic plans for redevelopment in order to protect their own aspirational plans, which are unlikely to materialise in our lifetime,” said Deputy Walsh.
The former Fine Gael Deputy added that he “wouldn’t trust the [Shannon Foynes Port] company to assemble flat-pack furniture, let alone develop a state-of-the-art commercial port.”
“Shannon Foynes has treaded water with its proposals for expansion by 2041 and that smacks of a lack of ambition. Ambition is certainly not lacking on the part of Galway Harbour Company and, if this application is successful, work could commence on phase one of the redevelopment as early as next year,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Shannon Foynes Port Company declined the opportunity to reply to Deputy Walsh’s comments.
An Bord Pleanála received a total of 93 submissions on the proposed development during the submission period, which ended on 11 March.
The Galway Port redevelopment plan was the subject of a special meeting of Galway City Council this week, during which councillors were briefed on the local authority’s own submission to An Bord Pleanála on the proposed plan.
During the meeting, held at City Hall on Monday afternoon, councillors were told that the Harbour plan’s prediction that the development would increase traffic by just five per cent at most junctions, did not factor in additional heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic.
According to Galway City Council, the development could see an increase of HGV movements of 102 per cent and 147 per cent during the AM and PM peak hour respectively on the Lough Atalia Road. In addition, during phase one of the construction phase, an additional 305 HGV movements would be generated per day.
This additional traffic, said the Council, could significantly shorten the lifespan of certain roads. The Council has proposed that Galway Harbour Company be required to upgrade the existing Lough Atalia – College Road junction and make a financial contribution to the local authority for a road strengthening programme.