Less than 50% of active travel funding spent in Galway; Councillors called on to act rather than “vilifying” critics of their failings

Galway City Council is facing critistism for spending less than 50% of the money allocated to it for walking and cycling in 2021.

Senator Pauline O’Reilly (Green Party) called on councillors to act and also said that it’s “not seemly” for councillors in the city to vilifying those who criticise their failings.

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She said: “The public has a right to call for action from their Councillors and the vilification of mothers, in particular, for calling out the failures, is not seemly.”

Figures from National Transport Authority (NTA) show that Galway City Council did not spend 53% of the funding made available to it for walking and cycling infrastructure in 2021. The city was allocated €11.865 million but only spent €5,571,513.

Senator O’Reilly said: “Councillors in Galway need to do better for our community. It is understandable that the significant increase in funding since 2019 requires increased capacity, and there have been many additional challenges for our local authority during Covid. However, separate to this funding, additional funding has also been provided for new roles, dedicated to local walking and cycling projects and we need to start seeing faster progress.”

She said that after decades of prioritising cars in Ireland, many people in both rural and urban areas feel they have no option but to drive, even for short journeys. And that the Green Party has tried to address this by increasing funding for walking and cycling from €45m in 2019 to €289m nationally in 2022.

“There is €7,785,000 allocated for Galway City in 2022. The money and the skills are there, now we need action. I’m asking the public to call on your local councillors, across every party, to demand safer paths and cycleways outside your homes, your schools, your places of work, to help create a safer and more liveable community. It’s time to put people first. I know many are already doing this. Public representatives need to step up to the mark,” she said.

Senator O’Reilly added: “The amount of funding being sought by Galway City Council for 2022 is disappointingly low, and I expect to see it spent, at the very least. I know that should the Council seek further funding, we can make it available.”

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