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N59 upgrade must be a priority in National Development Plan

12 February 2018

Statement by Cllr Niall McNelis
Spokesperson on Tourism

Labour spokesperson on Tourism and representative for Galway West, Cllr Níall McNelis has said that the upgrade of the atrocious N59 must be a priority in the National Development Plan to be published on Friday in Sligo as it is an essential tourism route for Connemara and the west of the county.

Cllr McNelis said:

“The N59 from Galway city to Clifden and on to Leenane, has regularly been described as one of the worst roads in Ireland. It connects Connemara and the heartlands of our Gaeltacht to the rest of Ireland.

“Considering it is one of the most travelled and important tourist routes in the country, there is no excuse for its current condition. Also, if we want people to live outside the city in the county we must make the road safer for residents of Connemara.

“The Government must ensure that funding is put in place in the National Development Plan to provide the much needed upgrade works.

“If €10 million could be recently found by Minister Ring to upgrade the N59 in Mayo from Westport to Kilmeena, I hope similar sums will be put in place for Galway.

“The new 10 year capital investment plan will be published on Friday in Sligo. It is essential that it provides the investment needed in the West to ensure we are adequately equipped to grow the local economy, and in particular tourism which is a vital industry for Connemara and Galway City.

“Once funding is in place, what will be needed is for all stakeholders to come together to ensure the road can be satisfactorily upgraded. There have been too many delays in the past due to failures to put in place the correct method statements and address all the environmental concerns.

“The Government can lead by example by committing to making this upgrade a priority by putting the funding in place and then working to ensure all concerns are addressed, and that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is satisfied.

“This vital road is too important for local communities, and must be upgraded as soon as possible.”

ENDS