In response to complaints about traffic congestion around Scoil Íde primary school, Galway City Council sent two community wardens out to Salthill this morning (October, 8th, 2014). We understand they were out yesterday as well. We have no problem with that but would question why they had to arrive in two separate vans which were each parked within a few meters of one another on Rockbarton Road.
The two men in question were just going about their job. When asked why they do not come out to deal with traffic congestion during GAA games in Pearse Stadium they explained that games in the stadium are usually on at weekends when they are not working. Match time generally coincides with what would be considered overtime hours by city council employees, and the community wardens at least are not allowed to work over time.
They voiced the opinion that the gardaí should be available to deal with the issue, but as we know they generally do not. One of the warden’s recalled that some years ago the GAA had angered the local residents by completely blocking the footpath with a trailer from which they were selling match tickets and refused to move it a few feet to allow people pass on the footpath. He recalled that on that occasion the gardaí on duty not only did not issue any tickets for illegal parking but point blank refused to even ask the GAA to move the illegally parked trailer. Not a lot has changed since then.
So we are stuck in a position where the relevant authorities have a history of refusing to deal with the issue of illegal parking and the disruption it causes when there is activity in Pearse Stadium, although prepared to deal with it at other times. One of these authorities, Galway City Council, has recently given notice of its intention to grant planning permission for Floodlights at Pearse Stadium despite a failure to meet guidelines on lighting overspill levels, and the total lack of a workable traffic management and parking plan, and a host of other issues.
It would be fair to say that the local residents feel betrayed and many believe that the actions of the local authority fall short of what would be expected in terms of both competence and integrity. At best, allegiance to the GAA has taken precedence over a proper examination and appraisal of the planning application.
We understand that today also marks the retirement date of one of the council officials to sign off on the application, Mr. Billy Dunne, Acting Director of Services, Planning and Transportation. While we vehemently disagree with the report he produced on the planning application, we wish him well in his retirement.