June 2010: Community Forum condemns Quirke road redesign but avoids pulling plug on Areas Fund bid

The Galway City Community Forum acts as an umbrella for over 200 groups in the city and has always had strong and detailed policies on sustainable travel. These policies are developed and promoted by the Forum’s Transport subgroup, which includes community nominees to the Transport Policy Committee of the City Council and the Integrated Transport committee of the City Development Board.

At its quarterly meeting on 8th June 2010, the Forum discussed a motion condemning the Galway Transportation Unit’s activities in relation to Smarter Travel and the Seamus Quirke road design. Several members of the Transport subgroup called for the Forum to withdraw support from the City Council’s bid for funding under the Smarter Travel Areas Fund. The GTU’s activities in relation to the Seamus Quirke Road redesign are seen as a betrayal of the work that went into supporting the bid and were described as a “stab in the back” for those trying to promote sustainable transport.

There was some disagreement on this point and there is reason to believe that some lobbying may have taken place beforehand by political interests in an attempt to save the city’s chances of getting the funding. In the end the meeting agreed to adopt the following wording:

“Galway City Community Forum wishes to reaffirm its support for the Smarter Travel Bid. However, Galway City Community Forum wishes to express serious concerns with regards to the proposed redesign of the Seamus Quirke Road/Bishop O’Donnell Road Scheme. The Forum is appalled by the lack of consultation throughout the redesign process and calls for full consultation on all aspects of the design. It is the view of the Forum that the proposed design is in conflict with the principles of Smarter Travel.”

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