Application for judicial review filed in contentious Galway Ring Road plan

A APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW of the disputed Galway Ring Road plan has been lodged with the High Court, with the Minister for Housing to be named as a party to the review.

Charity Friends of the Irish Environment has sought a judicial review of Galway City’s N6 ring road project, which would build an 18km route around north Galway city.

The plan is an attempt to ease traffic congestion in the bustling city centre, but critics say it would damage Ireland’s climate goals and not solve the congestion problem.

Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said she welcomed a “transparent judicial review” of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve the road.

“The Galway Ring Road is an old solution to Galway’s traffic problems. It will only lead to more sprawl and more problems,” O’Reilly said.

The senator said she was “extremely concerned that An Bord Pleanála did not consider emissions effects when making its decision.”

“They have obligations under the Climate Act and the Climate Action Plan to do so and I welcome a transparent judicial review of the decision.”

A judicial review can be made when an application is made to the High Court to challenge a decision of an administrative body or a lower court.

In a statement, Friends of the Irish Environment said High Court Judge Richard Humphreys had given them permission to make changes to their application for judicial review of the proposed route, including adding the Minister of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, as an opinion. party.

He adjourned the case for a week.

“The request comes nine years after the original program was canceled after a fundamental reference to the European Court of Justice in a case brought by veteran conservationist Peter Sweetman which determined that the project would harm the “integrity” of the pavement in protected limestone”, FIE mentioned.

An Bord Pleanála approved the plan for the 18 km route in December after months of deliberation.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the approval was “great news”, while Galway County Council, Galway City Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland jointly welcomed the decision in a statement calling it “good news for thousands of “city commuters” who find themselves stranded for long periods in traffic jams”.

The planned road, which would cost 600 million euros, would run from the existing R336 coastal road west of Bearna to the N6 at Coolagh Junction.

It would include a new bridge and viaduct over the River Corrib and two tunnels to the east of the city.

54 residences have been told they will be subject to an expropriation order and demolition if the road is approved – The newspaper and Remarkable spoke to affected residents last April.

Derrick Hambleton, a former head of the Galway branch of the sustainable development NGO An Taisce, said locals want to be able to get through their days without getting stuck in traffic but “a lot of people are starting to realize that this road is not going to solve it”.

When the plan was approved, a spokesman for Minister Eamon Ryan said that “if there is no legal challenge, the [ring road] project will move on to the next stage where it will be assessed under the Public Expenditure Code against a series of criteria”.

Galway County Council said potential legal challenges made it difficult to determine a timetable, but estimated that final detailed design and tendering would take around 18 months to two years.

#Open Journalism

No news, bad news
Support the review

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that matter to you

Support us now

The National Development Plan includes several main roads that have been under discussion for years, such as the Galway City Ring Road and the M20 between Cork and Limerick.

However, climate experts say Ireland needs to focus on facilitating modes of transport like cycling, walking, buses and trains instead of cars to cut critical emissions.

According to CSO figures for 2019 (before the pandemic), the transport sector accounts for around 20% of all emissions.

More than 70% of all journeys are made by car, which generally generates higher emissions per passenger compared to modes like buses or trains.