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Railway critical to port development

Accessibility to the rail network will be a critical factor in the redevelopment of Galway port, following the decision by An Bord Pleanála last Friday to refuse permission to the Port of Cork to develop a new €160 million container terminal at Oysterbank in Ringaskiddy on the grounds that it did not have an adequate road network.

Commenting on the board's decision the minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said the need to reduce CO2 emissions clearly highlighted the need to return to rail as a means of transporting freight in the future. He also called on the Port of Cork to consult more widely with local groups in Cork harbour before submitting an alternative plan.

Commenting on the implications of the board's decision for the planned redevelopment of Galway port, Tom O'Neill CEO of Galway Harbour Company, said that "at pre-planning meetings held between Galway Harbour Company and An Bord Pleanála, the board has repeatedly emphasised the requirement of proper road access and highlighted the immense importance of access to the rail line".

Galway Harbour Company is proposing to redevelop the Galway port at the 40-acre enterprise park just south of the existing port and strategically positioned adjacent to Ceannt Station and the Galway to Dublin railway line.

Draft plans show integration with the rail network as a key feature of the development. The development of a clear roads strategy is a work in progress with three proposals being considered, one proposal being a new road to run alongside the rail line from Ceannt Station and linking up with the Galway to Oranmore dual carriageway at the roundabout adjacent to Galway Clinic. The eventual solution will require the approval of Galway city council.

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