Re-engaging with Galway’s maritime past – TOBIN and the Galway Harbour Company.
There is little doubt that the Galway Harbour Project has a special place at the heart of the TOBIN business. Having been engaged in the development of this area for over 30 years, TOBIN has covered numerous aspects of the consulting process, including:
- Harbour Design
- Licences and Permits
- Development Planning
- Feasibility Studies
- Environmental Impact Assessments
- Stakeholder Consultations
For hundreds of years, Galway Harbour has formed a definitive focal point in the broader social and economic activity of Galway City and County. The Harbour has a long and colourful history, and by the end of the 15th century had established itself as a strong fishing and trade centre when it became one of only four licensed ports in Ireland. From this maritime base, the City of the Tribes flourished, forging lucrative trade links with locations as far afield as the West Indies and Newfoundland.
The current Port was built in the 1850s and was subsequently reconfigured in the 1960s to form the docks we see today. In more recent times, there has been an increased focus on a new wave of development in the port area. For over thirty years, through a programme of investment worth more than €100m, TOBIN has been working closely with the Galway Harbour Company in helping them to achieve their vision of Galway as the key logistical port for the West.
Consistency and continuity have been two essential ingredients in the work with the Harbour Company. The strong working relationship between TOBIN and the Galway Harbour Company is further consolidated by both party’s respective membership of the Atlantic Ocean Energy Alliance (AOEA). This is a voluntary organisation whose primary objective is to ‘maximise the economic and social benefit for the Western Region in particular and Ireland in general, from the emerging Ocean Energy Industry’.
To date, TOBIN has played a significant role in improving the overall operational activity of the port. The successful development of the Harbour Enterprise Park has permitted the relocation of the heavy industry users to a designated area which has freed up residential and commercial space for development. This has resulted in a seismic and positive shift in the utilization of the port. Further to this, the development of an inner dock yacht marina has also provided further revenue to the port and again bridges the waterfront with the adjacent city streets. All developments to date have faced significant planning, environmental and design challenges; challenges that TOBIN has risen to and overcome due in no small part to that close and strong working relationship with the Galway Harbour Company.
TOBIN is currently engaged with design works for the New Port Development that will include the reclamation of land for almost one kilometre out to sea. In turn, this will provide additional Commercial Quays and sufficient space for the entry of large cruise liners into Galway, restoring the links that Galway traditionally held with cruise liner tourism.
Significant consultation on the Harbour development plans is set to continue, managed by TOBIN, including the full spectrum of Harbour users, local authorities and other statutory bodies with the overall and continued objective of improving the harbour area. These exciting plans, once realized, will go a long way in enhancing the social and economic lives of the people of Galway and the West.