Athenry ADC News – Winter 2002 – Part 1

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Relief road planned for forty years

It can truthfully be said that access to Athenry was easier during medieval times when it served as a national crossroads than it is today. The town is ringed by a series of railway bridges that make both pedestrian and goods access extremely difficult. It is common for truck drivers unable to navigate the bridge on the main Galway/Athenry road to have to detour via Craughwell. Access to Athenry from the Monivea road is equally hazardous and the very narrow.

The Athenry / Carnaun road is now frequently used by heavy goods vehicles despite its unsuitability. None of the existing access roads to the town is suitable for large vehicles. Plans for a relief road from the Ballygurrane Road towards the Railway station have been mooted by the Galway County Council for the past 40 years. A snail on its own would surely have a road built there in a shorter period!

Controversial planning decision in Athenry Town!

Local community organisations expressed shock at the decision by Galway County Council to grant permission for a housing development at Abbey Row. ‘Planning was refused for this site earlier application’ said Athenry ADC Chairman Peadar Monaghan. ‘This is a complete u-turn by the Co Council and it is difficult to understand the reasoning behind it’. Work is proceeding on the site on which stood the original “Old Boys School”, with a teacher’s residence at both ends. This single storey building which did not obstruct the view of the Dominican Priory has been cleared away and to date the foundation and sub-floors of two houses are complete.

Madelyn Brody, Chairperson of Athenry Arts and Heritage Company said ‘It is a disgrace that planning permission was granted in this case especially as the area had always been zoned amenity. We have always assumed that protection existed for national monuments. The Priory is an important building and should be a showpiece in town. There should be an unobstructed view of the building. It makes one question what the planning process is all about.’

To School “through the Bridges”

Pedestrians dice with death every day as they cross the railway bridges on the roads from Galway, Tuam and Monivea. It is a miracle that to date there has been no fatal accident to any of the hundreds of school children who have to dodge heavy traffic as they cross them on their way to school every morning and evening.

Would it be vey expensive to hang a little walkway onto the side of each of those bridges? Will we have to wait for a tragedy to get something done?

According to Peter Feeney of Athenry Community Council its been fifteen years sine the issue of pedestrian footpaths was first raised with CIE and the County Council. “We have lots of promises but nothing has happened” he says. “The north / south line is now being dismantled by Cie at a huge cost to the taxpayer; instead of building up the infrastructure they are dismantling it”.

 Traffic Plan for Athenry finalised

Traffic Management for Athenry has been finalised and will be on public display throughout the town in the new year. The plan is the result of a long running process involving several local community organisations. Peter Feeney, Athenry Community Council; Ned Waldron and Gerry Ahern, Athenry Project Society; Madelyn Brody, Athenry Heritage Centre; Peadar Monaghan, Athenry ADC and Karen Smith, East Galway Marketings are to be thanked for their input.

Athenry ADC facilitated this community effort. The assistance and co-operation of John Diskin, Galway County Council is also much appreciated.

Temporary Sewage treatment plants

There is concern in Athenry over the delay in the upgrading of the town’s sewage plant. People fear that temporary treatment plants will be used in some of the proposed new housing estates in the town with drastic results.

No Playground for Athenry

Athenry Community Council has offered a site to the Galway County Council on a long-term basis for the provision of a playground. It is understood unofficially that the Council did not find the site acceptable and have no immediate plans for another site.

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About this record

Written by Gerry Ahern

Published here 02 Aug 2023 and originally published Winter 2002

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