28 school principals call for safer cycle routes in Galway

IMAGE: Children and marshals on the Galway Cycle Bus.

Primary and secondary principals at 28 schools in Galway city have written an open letter to the city’s councillors calling for safer cycling infrastructure to schools.

The letter said: “As government advice since March 2020 is to ‘cycle or walk where possible’, we write to support a campaign for the provision of safer cycle infrastructure in and around schools in Galway city.”

The letter references the Department of Education’s ‘Reopening Our Schools’ document which encourages schools in ”promoting various alternative means for children to get to school in a safe way, including walking and cycling.”

The principals said “It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools is unsafe for children, teachers, and families to cycle to school. Immediate action is necessary to avoid a tragedy on our roads.”

“We are committed to supporting cycling and active travel to school, fully conscious of its positive impact on student health and wellbeing,” the letter said.

The principals added: “We are requesting a comprehensive plan for infrastructural changes around our schools supporting cycling as a sustainable, inclusive and equitable option for our school communities. We look forward to hearing your plans.”

The letter was inspired by a similar letter written to Dublin councillors in December by principals of 17 schools which called for “immediate action” on safer cycling infrastructure in the South and South West areas of the capital.

The Galway Cycle Bus — which helps children cycle to school safely — welcomed the principals signing the letter. The group said: “This is a big deal. A very big deal. 28 primary and secondary principals in Galway city signed an open letter calling for safer infrastructure around our schools. This must have positive consequences.”

Alan Curran, founder of the Galway Cycle Bus, previously stressed that the cycle bus should be a short-term solution. He said: “Our six year plan is blank. Our focus is that we don’t want to be here. We want not to exist in six years time — we know what needs to be done. We don’t want another generation of children to be chauffeured to school whether its diesel or electric or self driving.”

The letter was signed by the following principals

  • Michael Gallagher, Principal, Claddagh N.S.
  • Dairíona Nic An Iomaire, Príomhoide, Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh
  • Laoise Bhreathnach, Príomhoide, Scoil Iognaid
  • Frank Keane, Principal, Scoil Bhríde N.S.
  • Deirdre Broderick, Acting Principal, Cuan na Gaillimh, Steiner N.S.
  • Sarah McGinley, Principal, St. Josephs Special School
  • Máirtín Ó Ceallacháin, Príomhoide, Gaelscoil Dara
  • Noreen Healy, Principal, Knocknacarra N.S.
  • Kieran Tierney, Principal, Scoil San Phroinsias, Tirellan N.S
  • Deirbhile Ní Scolaí, Principal, Educate Together, Newcastle N.S
  • Colin Barry, Principal, Scoil Chroí Íosa N.S.
  • Damien O’Keeffe, Principal, Buaile Bheag N.S.
  • Caitriona McCormack, Acting Principal, Castlegar N.S.
  • Niamh Nolan, Acting Principal, St.Patricks N.S.
  • Claire Hynes, Principal, Scoil Íde N.S.
  • Niamh Hickey, Principal, Scoil Einde N.S.
  • Paul Munroe, Principal, Radharc na Mara Mervue N.S.
  • Máire Báicéir, Príomhoide,Scoil Shéamais Naofa, Bearna
  • Máire De Brún, Príomhoide of Scoil Bhride Menlo.
  • Bríd Ní Neachtain. Príomhoide,Scoil Fhursa
  • Michele McCarra, Principal, Scoil Rois
  • David O’Sullivan, Principal, Coláiste Iognáid
  • Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, Príomhoide, Coláiste na Coiribe
  • Betty Hernon, Principal, Coláiste Muire Mathair
  • Sr. Gerarda Lawler, Principal, Salerno
  • John Cleary, Principal, Merlin College
  • Sarah Molloy, Principal, Galway Educate Together Secondary School
  • Alan Kinsella, Principal, Dominican College Taylors Hill

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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