The Minister for Transport has said it is critical that enhancements are made to Galway's city bus network, before any new road projects commence.

In a recorded address to a transport webinar, due to take place this evening, Minister Eamon Ryan said he favoured planned changes to city centre traffic flow, aimed at improving bus services, "before we begin to consider what has to be done on the road side".

Tonight's online event is being held in support of a campaign to provide a light rail network in Galway.

The Minister's comments come as An Bord Pleanála continues its deliberations on the proposed N6 Galway Ring Road project.

A decision, following last year's oral hearing, is not expected until later this year.

In the meantime, work is ongoing on the development of the "cross-city" public transport corridor, which would link the east and west suburbs of Galway through the city centre.

This envisages new and upgraded pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, along with priority for public transport on the route in question.

Galway City Council says through traffic, with no specific destination in the city centre, would be diverted via alternative routes.

It is expected that, were planning to be granted, it would take between 12 and 18 months to finish the project.

Minister Ryan has also committed to examining a proposed light rail service for Galway. He said this would be carried out as part of a wider review of the city's transport strategy next year.

He rejected suggestions that there would not be the population density to support such infrastructure, arguing that when services are provided, density builds around them.

The Minister said he was open to considering how high capacity, high frequency bus services could be converted to light rail solutions, where there was demand and where there was road space.

The Gluas campaign group is lobbying for a Very Light Rail (VLR) transport system for Galway.

It argues that state of the art technology would make this viable and has invited speakers from a number of other cities, with similar infrastructure already in place, to address this evening's event.