Sunday 28 June 2009

State agencies divided in row over Galway bypass

A NUMBER of different government agencies are set to take opposing sides of a bitter High Court battle over a controversial €317m Galway city motorway.

A judicial review of An Bord Pleanála's decision to approve part of the Galway city outer bypass will be heard in the High Court's Commercial Court from Tuesday.

Environmentalist Peter Sweetman is taking a case against the state and An Bord Pleanála. Environmental group Hands Across the Corrib of Ballinafoyle, Co Galway, claims that a decision by An Bord Pleanála to approve part of the massive project was based on a flawed environmental impact assessment.

The National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Department of the Environment have joined with objectors such as Sweetman and Hands Across the Corrib in the case against An Bord Pleanála, which in turn has the support of the National Roads Authority and Galway County Council.

The NPWS and the Department of the Environment, which will be represented by the attorney general, is arguing that the decision by An Bord Pleanála may contravene an EU habitat directive.

Galway TD Frank Fahey, who is the chair of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, has called for co-operation and mediation between the opposing government agencies on the issue as he believes a protracted court battle could jeopardise the future of the controversial project.

Fahey said: "That government agencies are opposing each other in a High Court case in this way is ludicrous.

"The relevant agencies should come together to discuss the potential contraventions to the habitat directive, with the viewpoint to reaching a compromise that would allow this vital infrastructural project to proceed.

"The Galway City outer bypass is crucial for the development of the city and the delay to its development has already proved damaging for the city."

Irish Times

No comments: