Greening the Laneways – tackling antisocial behaviour

Galway City Council is collaborating with residents in Westside and Bohermore to continue with the “Greening the Laneways” project. This initiative aims to prevent anti-social behaviour in the city’s laneways.

Together they aspire to transform dull laneways into vibrant, family-friendly spaces by planting shrubs and painting murals. The long-term plan is to bolster biodiversity and decrease the amount of littering, dumping and graffiti in these areas.

Tiarnan McCusker, project coordinator for Greening the Laneways, noted its success since last year when it was first rolled out.

“From speaking to the residents who have been involved in the project, it’s completely changed these laneways. There’s much, much less anti-social behaviour. There’s more families and young kids using them,” he said.

This project has led to a marked reduction in dumping, littering and graffiti in laneways across the city. Mr McCusker noted that the transformation in Rocky Road, Westside has been particularly successful: “The Rocky Road project, which was done over a year ago, has never been graffitied over by any of the local kids. It’s actually been untouched.”

Mr McCusker attributes the success of Greening the Laneways to community involvement in the project. “The local kids are involved in doing the local murals themselves, so they have ownership over it,”  he said.

This prevents future defacement of murals and dumping in planters as the reinvigorated laneways would take “pride of place” in the community.

A new splash of colour

This week, communities in the city are continuing to plant pollinator-friendly vegetation in Rocky Road, Westside and Cabbage Lane, Bohermore.

With the help of professional artists, young local residents will also be painting colourful murals in the laneways.

According to Mr McCusker, laneways in Galway city experience significant dumping and graffiti by those living in the locality.

“These laneways would have been quite monotone, grey spaces where people were maybe even slightly fearful of walking down at times. There would have been a fair amount of antisocial behaviour in them,” he said.

Mr McCusker hopes that after the success in Westside, Rahoon and various other local neighbourhoods, this project will help residents “feel safe to come into these spaces again”. 

“It’s been very successful where we have done it. We hope to roll it out in more areas in the city,” he added.

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