Galway East Fianna Fáil TD Michael Kitt has demanded answers from the Minister for Transport about the future of key road projects in Galway East that had reached an advanced stage under the previous Government, but have been stalled for more than a year.
Deputy Kitt raised a special Dáil debate on the issue this week (Tuesday, 01 May) and in particular questioned the Government about the planned Gort to Tuam motorway and the Tuam bypass.
Questioning the Minister of State at the Department of Transport Alan Kelly in the Dáil, Deputy Kitt said, “When the Ennis to Gort motorway including the bypass of Crusheen was completed some years ago, people in east Galway and across the West were looking forward to the commencement of the Gort to Tuam motorway. As well as the need for the motorway, there was a hope that the project would create local jobs.
“However it is now reported that consideration has been given to completing the Gort to Athenry section only. This is bad news for Tuam where there is traffic congestion and for years there have been traffic delays between Tuam and Galway city.
“Four years ago, a €29 million water, sewerage and utilities scheme was sanctioned for Tuam. It has become known as the big dig. It is nearly complete and will be of great benefit to the town. It is a great comfort that the work is to be finished. There has been major traffic disruption in the town of Tuam and there will be huge disappointment if the bypass, which was earmarked six years ago, is not included in the road development. If the funding allows a motorway from Gort to Athenry, there is the question of Claregalway. What are the proposals for Claregalway?
“I know funding from private sources has been difficult to obtain but the West has suffered cutbacks to transport infrastructure projects. There have been cutbacks relating to Galway airport and delays on the western rail corridor. The Minister has not been hopeful about the western rail corridor project recently. Neither has he been hopeful about the future of Galway Airport. These are all related because they are part of the transport infrastructure we would like to see in the West,” said Deputy Kitt.
Speaking afterwards, Deputy Kitt said the response from Minister Kelly was extremely disappointing for the people of Galway East. The Minister gave no commitment to the future of the Gort to Tuam Road and the Tuam Bypass, citing delays with the planning process and funding issues. Deputy Kitt appealed to the Minister to engage with the National Roads Authority to speed up the process and help guarantee the future of the project.