Work has begun on the removal of the controversial giant oil tanks at Galway docks and close to the city centre.
The 60ft high tanks have long been regarded as an eyesore and there were fears that they would overshadow the Galway leg of the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race next month.
But under a deal hammered out between oil suppliers Topaz and Chevron and locally owned Edward Holdings, the preparatory work on the demolition of the tanks got under way last weekend.
Tinnelly Construction from Newry has been handed the task of cutting the metal from the tanks into sections using high-power hydraulic equipment. It is hoped to recycle the metal locally.
The removal job is expected to take up to three weeks, but the site will be fully cleared in time for the arrival of the hi-tech Volvo Ocean Race yachts on May 23.
The demolition does not require planning permission as it is exempt under the provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
The space currently occupied by the tanks will be taken over by a massive tented village which will host the massive crowds expected to flood the Western capital for the Galway stopover which will continue until June 6.
Up to 150,000 visitors are expected to visit the port to view the race over the two weeks and the local economy is likely to benefit by €40m.
A packed programme of events has been scheduled to entertain the big crowds throughout the two-week stay in Galway.