#GalwayHarbour - Galway's mayor reiterated his full support for plans to redevelop the city's port on the final day of An Bord Pleanála's hearing into the €126 million scheme.
As The Irish Times reported last weekend, Mayor Donal Lyons said the port expansion was vital for the future of the city, echoing claims that Galway Harbour could face terminal decline unless the redevelopment goes ahead as planned.
The potential economic benefits were raised by Esmond Keane SC, on behalf of the Galway Harbour Company, who said "it is not feasible to suggest that cruise tourism could be relocated to another port away from Galway."
Ian Lumley of An Taisce made a final submission questioning the wisdom of developing a new port that "lacks connection" to the national road transport infrastructure.
The Shannon Foynes Port Company also dismissed claims that there were no viable alternatives to the expansion, citing its own status as a 'Tier 1' deepwater commercial port that operates on a 24-hour basis compared to Galway's more modest plans.
That came after Galway West TD Noel Grealish's earlier rejection of Shannon Foynes' objections as "spurious" and motivated by "self-interest".
"Long-standing" proposals for a deepwater quay at Rossaveal, on the north shore of Galway Bay in Connemara, were suggested as an alternative to bolster the current Galway Port, while fishing and cycling representatives expressed their various concerns over the impact of the redevelopment.
Two weeks of evidence will now be evaluated by An Bord Pleanála with a full report expected by the end of March. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.