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Action demanded on discarded drug needles and anti-social behaviour



Litter, drug needles and vandalism of trees are destroying the enjoyment of parks on the east side of the city.

That’s the assertion of city councillor Noel Larkin, who believes the Council are not doing enough to thwart anti-social behaviour in the valuable public spaces available for residents.

Trees were “butchered” in Terryland Forest Park. The cuttings have been strewn about for over a month despite calls to the Council for a clean-up.

“This tranquil walkway has become a scene of mass destruction. This is a vast area and frequently used by walkers, dog-owners, children and the elderly from a lot of nearby estates and communities,” he fumed.

“There was a serious element of drug dealing in the past in areas of this park which was successfully eradicated after our complaints. Now, there is serious dumping going on here.”

It prompted one visiting good Samaritan to organise her own litter-pick last Thursday.

French student Alice Roy, who was staying in Riverside during her studies, was so appalled by the condition of the park that she put up posters in the area to mobilise volunteers to pick up the “awful waste”

The poster read: “Who is feel (sic) bad to see garbage in this pretty little public park?”

Remarked Cllr Larkin: “She is heading back to France in a few weeks with this impression of our beautiful City. Galway City Council need to take more stringent action on illegal dumping throughout the City.”

During February, the Independent representative said he had reports of drugs paraphernalia and substantial litter under trees in the public park at Castle Park.

“This litter is gathered once or twice a week by local volunteers and includes used and unused drugs and needles, tablets and condoms. There are also reports of these trees providing a safe haven for sexual activity as well as drug- taking and anti-social behaviour,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

“I duly notified the City Council and insisted that urgent action be taken – either the trees were to be fenced off or cut down completely. Being conscious of the bird-nesting season starting at the beginning of March, I was hoping for immediate action to be taken, but one month on, nothing has been done.

“This pitch is also being invaded by stray horses on a regular basis, and although Galway City Council officials have been following up on this, these invasions occur mostly at weekends when there are no officials about.

“These amenities – park, pitch and clubhouse – were built for the community, are maintained by a number of volunteers, used by many youth organisations and are being destroyed by a few unscrupulous people.

“It’s time to get tough on these offenders whose sole intent appears to be self-gain at the expense of the whole community.”

A spokesman for Galway City Council said there was an ongoing issue in relation to the dumping of needles.

“The guards and ourselves are aware of it. There is a protocol to deal with drugs paraphernalia, in particular needs. There was a commitment by the guards that out of hours the Gardaí would have a sharps box in the squad car, but I’m not sure where that stands at the minute.”


Galway City Council Chief asked to intervene after Kirwan junction ‘near misses’



From the Galway City Tribune – Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has been urged to intervene and instigate a review of the controversial changeover of Kirwan roundabout to a traffic light junction.

A relative of the Collins’ family, who operate a B&B on Headford Road, has pleaded with Mr McGrath to act to make it safe to enter and exit this house.

Joseph Murphy, from County Galway but living in England, a relative of the owners of the B&B located on the N84 side of the Headford Road, has warned of the potential for a serious collision at that junction.  He wrote to Mr McGrath, and copied all city councillors including Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG), seeking a review of the junction and in particular access to the B&B. Mr Murphy said he has been driving for forty years but this junction was “one of the most difficult and complicated traffic light junctions I have ever experienced”.

The CCTV shows a van stopping in the junction to give way to pedestrians before entering the B&B.

He said he wrote the letter because he nearly had a serious accident, due to no fault of his, when leaving the residence.

An amber traffic lights system is in place at the house, since the junction changeover last year, which is supposed to help motorists exit onto the Headford Road from the B&B.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

He said the lights are complicated and it was unreasonable and unfair on his family and any guests staying at their B&B who may be endangered trying to enter or exit the driveway.

Videos of ‘near misses’ recorded on CCTV footage, and supplied to Councillor Mike Crowe (FF), have been seen by the Galway City Tribune.

They give a flavour of how dangerous it is to exit the residence on an amber light; and indicate an apparent lack of understanding of the system on the part of other motorists.

Cllr Crowe and other elected members raised this safety issue at a Council meeting last week during a discussion on the City Development Plan. It was decided to rezone some land adjacent to Sandyvale Lawn, which would allow for a new entrance to the house to be constructed, although there is no timeframe.

Mr Murphy, in his email to officials and councillors said it was an “extremely busy junction”.

“I do not believe that enough planning or consideration was taken when the traffic lights were installed, especially those that were installed directly in front of my sister’s house.

“My relatives in Galway should not have to worry every time they leave their house nor should anyone coming from the Menlo direction have to worry about getting blocked in by other vehicles when entering my sister’s house,” he said.

Mr Murphy added: “I would urge the Galway City Council to carry out an immediate review to make this busy junction safe before somebody gets hurt in a serious accident.”

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Plan for former pub in Galway to house Ukrainian refugees



From the Galway City Tribune – The former Lantern Bar in Ballybane has been proposed to accommodate Ukrainians seeking refuge in Galway.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that works are underway on the building to advance the plans.

The Council confirmed that they had been briefed on the proposal but refused to be drawn on the details.

“Galway City Council is aware of a proposal to use the Lantern Bar at Ballybane Shopping Centre for refugees,” said a spokesperson.

“The coordination of the development of accommodation facilities such as this is the responsibility of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.”

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

The local authority spokesperson said they did not have information on the number of people who would be accommodated, nor did they know when the facility might be open.

The Lantern Bar has not operated as a pub for some time, although its licence was renewed on appeal at Galway Circuit Court in February 2020 when the court was told that it was intended to sell the premises.

The bar, which had been the location of a series of public order incidents in 2019, had previously had its licence revoked following several objections from residents.

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City centre residents’ fears over new late-night opening hours



From the Galway City Tribune – Residents in one of the city centre’s oldest residential areas fear their lives will be turned upside-down by proposed later opening hours for pubs and nightclubs.

Chairperson of the Bowling Green Residents’ Association, Jackie Uí Chionna, told a public meeting of the City’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) that as city centre residents, anti-social behaviour was part of their daily lives.

However, they expected the situation to worsen if Government proceeded with proposals to extend nightclub opening hours to 6.30am.

“Our concern at our recent AGM was the longer pub opening hours – it will result in an increase in [anti-social behaviour],” said Ms Uí Chionna.

She said it was their belief that this policy went against the right of city centre residents to “exist and live as a community” in the middle of town.

“We oppose increasing opening hours. We won’t have any sleep – we have minimal as it is. And we won’t feel safe to walk on the streets.

“It is regrettable that there has been so little consultation with gardaí and residents,” said Ms Uí Chionna.

Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche said Gardaí were waiting to see what happened with the legislation for later opening hours.

“On one hand, not having 5,000 or 10,000 people coming out at the one time will be a benefit but the question is if they won’t [come out at one time]. And will businesses buy into it?” questioned the Chief Supt.

Meanwhile, another Bowling Green resident and former city councillor, Nuala Nolan, raised concerns about the new model of policing and said rostering, which had gardaí working three days on and four days off was making it difficult to follow up on matters with community gardaí.

“You can’t get that person when they’re off for another four days – the continuity is gone,” said Ms Nolan.

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