Deirdre Goggin sits in her conservatory. Outside, the birds chirp in hazy Galway afternoon sun in a rock garden where the trees signal the turn of the year. In a few years, all Ms Goggin sees could be gone, buried under a dual carriageway.
Next month, a decision will be made by An Bord Pleanála about the Galway Ring Road, an 18km route that would run from the existing M6 on the east side of Galway city to Barna on the west.
The road was one of the big-ticket items in last week’s National Development Plan.
Ms Goggin was told in 2015 her home in Ballindooley, along with up to 53 others, would fall under compulsory purchase orders to make way for the road, which is needed, say its supporters, to deal with the city’s frequent gridlock.
“Not only am I losing my home, I’m losing my community,” said Ms Goggin, who spent €20,000 on refurbishments on her home last year because the State’s compulsory purchase of her house has taken so long.
“We can’t keep living in this state of limbo. We are the forgotten piece in all this,” she said. “The excuse the department gives is, ‘Covid has held everything up’, but I want to live my life.”
The road will affect hundreds of landowners, 44 houses and 11 businesses. Some people are losing a few metres of garden, while others are losing their homes. “It really is a lottery on whose house got picked,” she said.
Everybody could have been rehomed, she argues, if Galway council had moved more quickly. “They could have given us a few acres of land and have the community still living together.
“But now enough time has passed that there is now a terrible property crisis across Galway, as well as the rest of the country,” she said. “It’s not just my own life that is being upended, it’s an entire sense of community, just gone.”
Meanwhile, she questions the valuations offered. “One pouring wet day, a man in a suit comes down from Dublin, takes a look, peers out into the garden for five seconds and leaves again. Apparently, the value was determined by algorithm, with no real thought.”
On the east side of Galway city, where the €600 million ring road is due to begin and loop around the north of the city, local opinion is divided.
Ligita Kivlenie, who has lived in Doughiska for the last 15 years, said it is badly needed. "The traffic around this area is absolutely crazy. It takes me two hours to go from one side of the city to the other."
The road out of Doughiska brings drivers to the M6 near the Ballybrit racecourse, which has become a choke point for Galway traffic since the M18 Galway/Limerick motorway opened in 2017.
“That money could be spent better elsewhere,” said local resident Brian O’Connell. “It’s just going to push more traffic [here]. It’s going to add a lot more time on to my morning commute, I know that much.”