Ministers consider Galway port expansion plan
A request for a significant expansion of the port of Galway is under consideration by the Ministers of Housing and Culture.
This is the latest step in a long-term effort to secure approval for the proposed € 126 million project.
This would involve the rehabilitation of 27 hectares of the seabed and extensive development to improve and expand the port.
In 2015, An Bord Pleanála indicated that compensatory environmental protection measures would be necessary if the extension were to take place.
The council said some elements of the proposals would have a “significant negative impact” on the integrity of Galway Bay, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
Once the proposed compensatory measures to compensate for any damage were set out, the plan was sent back to Europe for approval, under a rarely used exemption from the Habitats Directive.
Under Article 6 (4) of this legislation, submissions can be made if a project is necessary for “overriding reasons of overriding public interest” (IROPI).
The European Commission has responded to this request in recent months and the case has been referred to the Minister of Housing by An Bord Pleanála.
Tonight, the ministry confirmed that Minister Darragh O’Brien wrote to Culture Minister Catherine Martin on April 27 to ask for her views on whether the compensatory measures would be sufficient to ensure integrity of the CSC.
There is no time limit for a decision in this regard.
Confirmation of the ongoing deliberations came as Galway Harbor Company announced plans for a redevelopment of the part of the existing port, closest to the city.
The company said plans largely hinged on approval for the port extension.