Transport Infrastructure Ireland gave a grim outlook for the delivery of the N6 Galway Ring Road this week in an update for the Oireachtas, predicting long delays due to judicial reviews.
Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of TII, appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications this week.
He addressed the current status of the N6 Galway Ring Road, along with other projects, and potential improvements to the civil engineering public works process in Ireland.
In his opening statement Peter Walsh said that any progress on the road awaits the outcome of three separate judicial reviews.
“In TII’s experience, judicial reviews cause very lengthy delays to project delivery. Accordingly, it seems likely, at this stage, that delivery of the Ring Road will be significantly delayed.”
Peter Walsh said in his statement to the Joint Committee that the planning process is currently “highly complex and time-consuming”, with delays of “years, not months” when judicial reviews are sought of approved projects.
Judicial reviews of the N6 Galway Ring Road have been sought by the Friends of the Irish Environment, Galway Race Committee, and Brooks Timber & Building Supplies Limited.
The €600 million project was granted planning approval by An Bord Pleanála in December of last year, several years after the application was made
FIE argues that the board failed to comply with enhanced environmental obligations, citing greater carbon emissions targets set by the government, as well as the Habitats Directive.]
Galway Race Committee’s complaint centres on a 240m tunnel which will be built north of the racecourse in Ballybrit.
They will lose their main stables as a result of this, and claim that the board failed to provide adequate reasoning for excluding the acquisition of land for new stables from the decision, against the inspector’s recommendation.
Peter Walsh added in his statement that TII does not object to “public scrutiny or judicial supervision”, but that bodies associated with granting approval need resources to function within reasonable periods of time.
“TII also suggests that the State ensures adequate levels of judicial resourcing so that challenges to vital public infrastructure can be determined in months rather than years.”