County Council News, April 2010

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Opening of Athenry – Ennis Railway

The long-waited re-opening of the Athenry-Ennis Railway will take place on March 30th. There will be five services each way daily serving Galway, Athenry, Craughwell, Ardrahan, Gort, Ennis, Sixmilebridge and on to Limerick.

This is a very important occasion, opening a new transport link between two of our largest cities and at the same time providing south Galway with mainline rail link for the first time in over a generation.

It is also very important that this service is successful; this will be measured by the number of passengers using the railway rather than the amount of revenue generated. The use of public transport is to be encouraged but it must be scheduled to suit passengers and at a competitive price. The service will receive a boost during the tourist season when European visitors aged over 65 will have the same “free travel” rights as Irish pensioners.

The re-opening of the Athenry-Tuam-Claremorris section will greatly depend on the level of use on the Galway-Limerick line.

For the moment we are back to the great days of Railway in Athenry when the town was one of the major junctions in the county. Credit for the re-opening must go to a wide group of bodies especially the Government, and particularly the late Seamus Brennan who as Minister for Transport made the funding available. Great credit also to local groups in the West who have ensured that the Railway line itself was preserved especially the Inter County Rail Committee under the stewardship of Fr. Micheal McGreil and the West-On-Track organization, which gave the campaign a great boost from its foundation in 2002. In fact, Athenry played a central role in the success of West-On-Track as Athenry Community Council hosted the launch of the campaign in that year.

I am pleased to be a member of both organizations and together with local activists like, Michael Gardiner, Des Glynn and Gerry Ahem made a contribution to the campaign.

Major Funding for Ring Road

The Minister for Transport has allocated €1.5 million for work in the Northern Ring Road. This is the third successive year the Road has received an increased allocation and it is now well on the way to delivery.

The first section to be completed will be from the Tuam Road to the Raheen Road near the Soccer Pitch. This will involve building a Roundabout and the realignment of the present R347, Tuam Road. This will remove the bad bends just outside the town. The Ring-road will then link the two roads with a three-lane carriageway, cycle lane and footpath. Work will begin during the summer and will be largely complete by year end.

Because the merits of the road have now been accepted by the Department of Transport, I expect funding will continue on an annual basis in the future. The Ring Road will eventually link up with the new access road to the M6 being built at the moment by Wills Brothers for the IDA at Newford. It is heartening to see such commitment to Athenry in these difficult times.

Delay in Tuam Road Improvements

Galway County Council planned to provide €150,000 towards road improvements on the Tuam Road within the town boundary. However, following the reduced allocation for road repairs from the Department of Transport and the decision to spend the reduced monies on potholes and surface repairs, it is now proposed to postpone this work on the Tuam Road. General repairs will continue on the stretch of road in question but the main work will not now go ahead in 2010.

This is a major disappointment but similar decisions have been taken all across the county and indeed the country. I will work hard to ensure the funding is restored as soon as possible.

Ballygurrane Road Works Near End

The badly needed reconstruction of the Ballygurrane to Coshla Road is now almost complete. The road was severely damaged during the N6 construction and the motorists and residents using the road richly deserve the high quality repair put in place.

I attended a number of meetings in the Raheen Woods Hotel over the past 2 years and heard at first hand the annoyance and frustration of local people. I brought these views to the County Council and the NRA and I must say from early on in the project there was a firm commitment from the NRA to reconstruct the road. At the time I felt it better to keep the promise of funding quiet as it was very important that the road be maintained to some level during the construction of the M6.

The NRA was as good as is word and the funding of close on 1 million euro was made mailable once haulage of materials was largely complete. It is a great relief that the new surface is now in place.

Lighting on the Ennis Bridge and New Raheen Link Road

Following representations from local residents, who are now using the new footpath over the rebuilt Ennis Bridge at Prospect, I asked the County Council and Irish Rail to provide lights on the bridge as there had been lighting there previously. Discussions are taking place and I have received a commitment that lights will be provided in the near future. Similarly on the new Raheen Link Road which has the lamp standards in place but no lighting on the Ard Aoibhinn end. I expect this will be sorted out in the coming weeks.

The new road and the footpath over the Ennis Bridge have provided a safe walking route for those who feel like exercise. This was lacking since the building of the new access road to the motorway.

This Article was first published in East Galway News and Views, March / April 2010

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About this record

Written by Peter Feeney

Published here 19 Apr 2024 and originally published March / April 2010

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