The following are the proposals submitted to the Irish government and to various national and international businesses and organisations. Click on links below:
Proposals for a new city to rejuvenate the complete West of Ireland, bordering counties of Sligo, Galway, Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford, Roscomon, Westmeath and in the county of Mayo.
PRELIMINARY REPORT, COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY
WILLIAM A. THOMAS AND VIRGINIE THERESE LAMOTTE.
FEBRUARY 11TH 2000.
A MILLENNIUM VISION OF WHAT IRELAND CAN OFFER FOR THE FUTURE.
This paper is presented to the Irish
Government, through its Minister for Science,
Technology and Commerce, Mr Noel Treacy T.D., on
Monday 17th April 2000,
at our offices in Galway.
1. Concept of the New City:
This New City would have as its critical mass, at least three Government Departments, that like the City will be future looking, and should include the DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT, the DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE, TRADE AND EMPLOYMENT (and with it SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND COMMERCE), and the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SCIENCE. In addition to that, this New City (which will feed on two major gas fields recently discovered off the Mayo coast, and are believed to be twice as big as the "Celtic Field" off Cork. These two Mayo fields will realize approximately �0 billion pounds.) will be near the new gas pipeline that will land at Broadhaven, in County Mayo, and Portnahally in fact the pipe line will pass at either side of the City, South bound to Galway, Limerick and Cork, and East bound via Ballina, Mullingar to Dublin. These gas pipelines open up the way for fertilizer plants, power generation stations, and gas provision and related industries, including an Industrial Center with high technology pharmaceuticals and chemicals. We would also require between 75 and 100 high-technology companies to relocate from the East and additional, first time location of 50 new high-technology companies to be set up in this New City.
In addition to these mainstay Government Departments and industries, there would be scope for a "University of Connacht," or "National Academy for Sciences," or both, an International Hospital, Mayo Clinic, with the most modern facilities in the World, including cancer treatment facilities, hospices, retirement centers, etc., a National Conference Center, research and resource facilities and a National Museum for the West, an National Exhibition Centre, and an International Cultural Centre.
2. Minister for the West:
This vision for a New City will be Irelands new statement for the future. It will require a new Minister, who sits at the Cabinet table, as MINISTER FOR THE WEST. This Minister will from concept to completion oversee the development of the New City, and coordinate all funding from Europe and elsewhere. A purpose built City, with its spatial boulevards and avenues, its excellent public building, its commercial sectors, residential sectors, and other. This New City will be visionary and future proofed and sustainable.
3. Present infrastructure:
Presently, cities around Ireland are growing at an alarming rate, but the roads and infrastructure were designed over 100 years ago and no longer cope with the demand of fast movement. Its cities are gridlocked, there is no future planning, rather development is racing ahead, only to provide the basic demand for housing, with sprawling suburbs, and no infrastructure. For many, it offers no future, for most, a lifetime of commuting, and huge debts, that in some cases can never be repaid.
Ireland now needs to take this quantum leap of faith in itself, and go forward with this vision which will inspire its young to greater ambitions. It will bring people out of centuries of inherited depression and tragedy, and give them the hope they seek and the obligation is on Government to provide it.
4. Other New Cities:
The Irish Government of today must be brave enough to take the first steps in this vision, by inviting world class architects by way of a competition to design Irelands FIRST purpose built city, and to incorporate all the lessons learnt from the successes of New Cities such as Milton Keynes (U.K.), Welwyn Garden City (U.K.), Reston in Virginia, Brasilia in Brazil, New Delhi in India and E.U.R. outside of Rome and others. These cities have proved their own efficiencies and successes, there are no gridlocks here, no unemployment, rather the attitude and the ambiance is up-beat, and these new cities have become the very heart beat of their respected countries.
(Canberra is another case in point).
5. Transport infrastructure:
Air links can be provided to this New City from Knock International Airport, likewise rail links can come from Castlebar/Claremorris to the South, and Sligo/Boyle in the North. These services would need to be upgraded, but essentially are already in place. A new dual carriageway should be contemplated to link up with Athlone/Dublin dual carriageway already proposed or Galway/ Dublin to the South.
6. Housing crisis:
The projected housing crisis of some 10,000 per annum of a shortfall would be accommodated in this New City, as Ireland has reached its peak of 50,000 per year, with demand at 60,000 and rising.
Ireland still maintains the highest growth rate in Europe, and is on track to having the best educated work force in Europe within 5 years.
The building of a purpose built and New City in the West, bordering the counties of Mayo, Galway, Longford, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Fermanagh will halt the immigration and migration from these counties, where immigration stands the highest in the country at over 20,000 per year.
7. Long term strategy for the West:
This project will halt the peripheralisation of the West, while Dublin races ahead with its multi-billion pound projects such as a light rail/metro service infrastructure, its financial services center expansion, its Spencer dock development, and so on.
This project is not in the Governments National Plan, which falls short of any real development for the West, and lacks any clear commitment, or vision; rather it can be summarized as "a few jobs here and a few jobs there to keep the natives happy."
The Government is now invited to think ahead and consider the long term strategy for the West, which is (outside of Galway) in decline.
The proposed New City will offer a quality of life to its inhabitants, which will be of a unique quality in the world, and far surpass even the most advance city in the U.S.A. Wide Boulevards and Avenues will afford free movement of traffic, and well designed public transport and underground car parking facilities will allow for free access at all times.
This City which we envision will cover an area of thirty square miles (100,000 inhabitants), with a down town plaza, and down town area of 5 square miles. It will incorporate the latest in the Emergency Services, with a central/regional command to cover communications, and will include the Garda, Fire, Ambulance, Defence, and other.
8. New housing:
Housing will be new, spatial, detached, in an infrastructured surbia, with churches, community centers, shops, and other recreational facilities, way beyond what exists already in Ireland.
Housing will be designed in two/three/four/five bedroom houses, apartments, duplexes with spacious gardens and parks. It will be designed for up to 250,000 residents over 20 years.
9. Hotels, guesthouses, etc.:
All the major Hotel groups will be invited to acquire hotels, both downtown and in surbia areas of this New City, offering en-suit rooms/office, and all recreational and conference facilities, second to none.
10. Monasteries and religious orders:
All religious orders will be invited to be part of the design stage (as will others) so that monasteries, such as Benedictines, Cistercians, and Carmelites would be an essential part of this New City, and indeed help to form the new spirit of this city.
Expansion can be future proofed, and could include the headquarters of Bord Failte, the I.D.A., and many other organizations, both from Ireland and overseas We must build this city with spare capacity, to offset, growth pattern over the next 25, 50, and 100 years. That is why we must think big, and EXPANSIVE.
12. Sports and other facilities:
We must think here again, in expansive terms, about sports facilities, such as
A National Sports Stadium,
A National Ice Rink, where international competitions can be held,
A National Arena, which is multifunctional,
A National Swimming Pool, which is of Olympic size,
A National Museum for the West,
A. National Exhibition Centre,
And others, all wired for T.V./cable, etc.
There is scope for a large International Hospital, with special trauma centers and treatment centers, especially for cancers, and other terminal illnesses and the scope can be extended to a pan-European capacity, with specialist facilities, with world class people, similar to the Mayo clinics.
Its own clinics, of all descriptions, can be made available to old and young alike in purpose built facilities, that are not cramped, or demeaning.
Schools likewise, primary, secondary and 3rd level, will reflect the future orientated vision of this city with Sciences & Technology, at its core. As the numbers of science students dwindle around the world, the ambiance of this city will promote the studies of Sciences & Technology, and other futuristic studies.
15. Location of this New City
This New City should be in the center of
the West of Ireland, ideally within 10 miles of
Knock International Airport, West of
Ballaghaderreen, South of Charlestown, East of
Kilkelly, and North of Castlerea, (between
09�w - 08�w longitude, and 53� North,
and 54� latitude)
|This location gives the
county coverage that will be required for
success, especially with access to Donegal
but covers also Sligo, Fermanagh, Roscommon,
Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, Galway (and Mayo).
(for reference, see enclosed map "Ordinance
Survey of Ireland Discovery Series,"
number 32). This is also an area made up of hard
rock and limestone which would have ready
materials to build this city.
Ireland is developing at a rapid pace, however the pace is disproportionate in favour of the East, with massive investment, and development there. This has implicit negative effects on the whole West coast, as it tends to suck people Eastward toward employment, and other opportunities. The danger here is that it will devoid the West of its people in the long term, similar to the 1840s, when emigration reduced the population by 90% and which only now has began to recover, albeit in a small way.
17. Returning emigrants:
The Government wants to invite back over 250,000 Irish, who were forced to emigrate in the 70s and 80s before economic growth took place. There are offers of work but to date no offers of accommodation. Many who have left our shores now have a high quality of life, and enjoy infrastructured development and high quality homes. The least we can offer them is a better standard of living, and worthwhile for the world class people we hope to attract. There needs to be a greater incentive here, and this incentive will only come with a New City, which will be a whole new beginning for Ireland.
18. Failure of Shannon New Town:
Again the Government needs to think big and expansively or it will end up with a new Shannon New Town, which is a disaster; it is a total failure, it has no heart and no identity (see attachments) and lacked foresight, and planning, but more importantly, it lacked vision and commitment.
The only real option now is to have a purpose built city in the West of Ireland, designed by a team of international architects who will incorporate all the very best of what Ireland is, and has to offer. This will be the only real option for the West to compete with the massive development in the East, and will be the only way the West can effectively survive.
This is a National project. It needs a legislation and a special status. It requires planning, law, development and compulsory purchase of lands.
Whether or not this project is politically expedient today, we are convinced that it is absolutely essential and necessary, if the West is going to survive and prosper in the future.
We therefore urge the Government to take the concept seriously, and initiate the process immediately. Now that the Spencer Dock development has been rejected by the Planning Appeals Board, this gives our New City new impetus. It is imperative to do this now, the right way, or we will be mandated to build it by the 6 million people within 20 years, in an unplanned, and developer led city will become a disaster.
Note about the publishers:
William A. Thomas is Managing Director of Rockwell Shipping International (Defence consultants), with offices at Aengus House, Galway, Tel. 091. 562220.
Virginie Therese Lamotte is private secretary to Mr Thomas.