A planning application for the N6 Galway City Ring Road project has been remitted to An Bord Pleanála for reconsideration.
The initial application, which was approved by An Bord Pleanála, was quashed by the High Court in a judicial review brought by Friends of the Irish Environment.
The court found that An Bord Pleanála had failed to abide by the Climate Action Plan 2021 when they approved the application, which they are obligated to do. An Bord Pleanála did not contest the review.
The present iteration of the project was published in 2016, as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. A joint statement by the Galway County Council, Galway City Council, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland claims that the ring road is a vital aspect of the GTS.
The strategy, they say, “is a key enabler to sustainable, employment-led growth, as set out in the National Development Plan and National Planning framework.” The latter, they say, predicts that the population of Galway will grow by 80,000 people.
However, documentation from the NDP/NPF, only mentions the 80,000 figure in relation to Galway when stating its 2016 population level. The documentation’s actual prediction is that the city’s population will grow by only 40-50 per cent of this level between 2016 and 2040, to 120,000.
The ring road project — if the current application is successful — is planned for delivery in the medium term.
However, the Green Party’s Senator Pauline O’Reilly, who opposes the plan, does not think this will be possible.
“The ring road now has much stricter climate considerations to take into account than it did when the decision was made in 2021. It is hard to see how it can pass. Not only would it increase emissions but it would increase car dependency. Buses, light rail, park and ride — they are the answer.”
Galway County Council, Galway City Council, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland have all reconfirmed their support for the project.