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84-year-old loves to take to the roads for good causes

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A pensioner with a life-long love of the bike has lamented how cycling in the city centre has now become “too dangerous” for him.

Brendan Geoghegan (84), whose passion for the pedals is unrelenting, has tackled many of the country’s road for charity – and even now he shows no signs of slowing down.

But speaking on cycling around Galway, Brendan said, “It’s an awful pity because it is a beautiful city, but you are stopped from accessing it if you are on a bike. It’s all one way streets and can be very dangerous to cycle around especially for someone my age.”

The Mervue native has been participating in long distance cycles for over three decades and his love of cycling has grown since he was first involved in the 206-mile Co-Operation North Maracycle back in 1985.

Brendan has been involved in numerous long distance charity cycles for various organisations including the likes of Croí. His original charity cycle was the North Maracycle, where he often met with an intimidating atmosphere along with the way.

“I saw some report in the paper about it and said to myself, how could anyone cycle over a hundred miles in a day?

“It was a fundraiser to bring the children from the two areas, both Catholic and Protestant together away from the hostile atmosphere up North at the time. Some of them were taking to places across Europe and America,” he said.

“It was tough going. One year, I was stopped on the road at Newry, some incident had happened the night before. I think something had exploded. We are greeted by about 100 soldiers and it was like something out of Vietnam,” he added.

Brendan’s cycling started from a very early age when he left school at the age of 14.

“One of my first jobs was a messenger boy. In my era if the family didn’t have the money you left school. So the school was like an academy for messenger boys. Ten shillings a week, no way was I going to become a millionaire,” he joked.

His first bike cost between £15 and £20 and it’s a long way from the high-spec models that are currently on the market.

His training for years involved a cycle from Clifden and back from his city residence which he and his neighbour used to go on every Sunday.

Brendan has also been heavily involved in attempts to open the unused rail line between the Galway-Clifden as a cycle freeway so people can cycle without danger.

“I pointed out the advantages to people of having tourists using this cycle path as a huge positive to the local area. They would all be looking for food and a place to stay the night, so it would be brilliant for that area of the country in increasing tourism. It would create jobs and provide much needed income to the area,” he explained.

“I was in contact with the decision makers and they eventually got it going. I’m not sure how it’s going at the moment though. However, they have come in some difficult from the land owners who don’t want give up their land,” he added.

Not only is Brendan active in body, he continues to keep his mind active also.

“Your brain is a muscle too so use it. I read a lot and I do crosswords daily and I’m into history. I did a diploma in archaeology in NUIG. I had just finished the course the year before I retired in 1996.

“Sixty-three people did it and we formed a group and we went to different countries abroad look at archaeological sites.

“I remember when I was going to school and there was a map on the wall but of course never in your wildest dreams would you think would you get to see those places. It’s extraordinary,” he stated.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City businesses determined to weather lockdown storm

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Despite devastation for city businesses this week amid a return to lockdown, many remain determined to weather the storm – and with the Council’s approval this week of additional measures to entice people to the city centre when restrictions ease, there is a hope that a good Christmas could save them.

Level 5 restrictions which came into force on yesterday (Thursday) have forced ‘unessential’ retailers to close their doors once again in an attempt by Government to get a handle on spiralling numbers of Covid-19.

And while those affected, mainly in the retail and hospitality sectors, are facing huge challenges to keep their heads above water, they had to remain positive that all was not lost if coronavirus could be got under control over the next six weeks.

Anthony Ryan, of the Galway City Business Association, said that while closing their clothes shops had been hugely disappointing, he had to remain optimistic.

“We just have to stay going and remain positive. Our clothes division is non-essential so that is temporarily closed, in line with the Government guidelines. Items necessary for households are essential so that means our home store remains open.

“Business had recovered quite well by September, but once Level 3 was introduced, there was a big fall off for everybody,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

Many businesses, including his own, had made huge strives to improve their online offering in recent months and it was his hope that people would continue to support local when they shopped online, even if they couldn’t get in to the physical stores.

“Online sales continue to be very strong. We hope to have our fashion website up in a couple of weeks, so there has been a lot of work going into that in the background,” said Mr Ryan.

Meanwhile, councillors this week backed a plan that will result in an overhaul of traffic flow in the city core – transforming Middle Street into a shared-surface and eliminating all cars not owned by residents on the street – ruling out full pedestrianisation due to residents’ requirements.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Plan for new cross-city public transport corridor go on display

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is hopeful that a proposed new public transport corridor – linking the western and eastern suburbs through the city centre – could be ready to go for planning permission next year.

This week, a six-week public consultation process began on the ‘Cross-City Link’.

The Council is hopeful that a planning application could be submitted to An Bord Pleanála next year, and if approved, it would take 12-18 months to construct.

The Cross-City Link begins at the junction of University Road and Newcastle Road and continues across the Salmon Weir Bridge, through St Vincent’s Avenue, St Francis Street, Eglinton Street, Eyre Square, Forster Street, College Road and on to the Dublin Road.

“Through traffic, with no specific destination in the city centre, will be diverted,” the City Council said.

Uinsinn Finn, Senior Engineer with the Council said: “This corridor will connect homes with places of work, study, retail and recreation, with improved public transport journey times and reliability.

“High-quality public spaces, new and upgraded pedestrian and cyclist facilities and public transport priority will be provided, making it easier to move through the city, and to access destinations by sustainable means.

“This will create a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and the mobility-impaired, and public transport services will move more freely. Deliveries and access to carparks will be facilitated, as will access to homes or businesses.

“The Council invites the public, landowners and other stakeholders to review the proposals, and to share their feedback,” said Mr Finn.

He said that schemes such as the new corridor are key projects and are “essential” to keeping the city moving.

“They are key to supporting sustainable travel modes and to support the ambitious targets for Galway as set out in the National Development Plan,” Mr Finn added.

He said it is anticipated the proposal can be submitted for planning consent next year, and subject to permission being granted, it would take 12-18 months to complete.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pilot initiative will restrict car traffic around Galway City school

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have backed a proposal to restrict car traffic around Scoil Iognáid on Raleigh Row as part of a ‘School Streets’ pilot project.

The initiative, which involves a time-specific curtailment on cars at school drop-off and pick-up times, will result in the pedestrianisation of Raleigh Row, Palmyra Park and Palmyra Avenue – closed to traffic from 8.15am to 9.15am; and 1.15pm to 2.45pm.

Due to start on November 2, residents in the area will still be allowed access, but have been asked to “avoid using their car during the periods of pedestrianisation”, while those with blue badges will also be permitted to drive in the area.

Signage indicating the restrictions will be erected, while Gardaí and community wardens will enforce the pedestrianisation and parking respectively.

‘Park and Stride’ will be encouraged for getting children to school when no alternative is available, whereby parents park a short distance from the school and finish the remainder of the journey by foot – with registration enabling city school-goers’ parents to park for free in over 20 car parks.

Arlene Finn of the City Council’s Transport Department told councillors that 145 parents at Scoil Iognáid had already registered for this initiative, and by introducing the School Streets programme, the area would become infinitively safer and more appealing to parents and children wishing to walk or cycle to school.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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