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Green light for docks development

There is good news for Galway Harbour Company this week, with the revelation that the Department of Transport has given the green light for the company to seek planning permission to redevelop the docklands area.

The Harbour Company has been seeking to redevelop Galway Docks for a number of years and the Department of Transport decision will allow it to set plans in motion for this.

The planned redevelopment involves pushing the docks further out to sea and using the current docks for commercial and residential development as well as marine leisure.

The news was welcomed by Minister Eamon O Cuív, who now has responsibility for marine leisure.

However, there will be no early Christmas present for Docks residents this year, with the hoped-for move of the Topaz oil tanks delayed until after Christmas.

The oil tanks are to be moved in advance of the Volvo Ocean Race Galway stopover, so a Race Village can be built for the fortnight-long visit.

It's thought that the pre-Christmas demand for fuel has delayed the process further. A spokesperson for Topaz declined to comment.

However, a spokesperson for Let's Do It Galway, the organisation in charge of the Galway Volvo Ocean Race Stopover, said she was confident that the tanks would be moved by January.

"Obviously there will always be minor issues needing to be resolved when there are a number of parties involved, but there is no reason to believe it wouldn't be achieved," she said.

The oil tanks have been the subject of controversy in the past because of a 400-metre exclusion zone on development around them as a result of the Seveso directive, an EU safety regulation.

The Government attempted to introduce a tax incentive scheme to facilitate the removal and relocation of Seveso-listed industrial facilities in last month's Budget. However this measure was subject to EU clearance, which it did not receive.

According to Minister Eamon O Cuiv, discussions are ongoing in relation to this. "I am very keen that it would go ahead. As a Minister in one of the areas, in Galway City, I believe the redevelopment of those inner city areas would be a very positive move," he added.


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