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Advance factory planned for Tuam IDA lands




A planning application is being submitted to Galway County Council for the construction of an advance factory on IDA-owned lands on the outskirts of Tuam.

East Galway’s two ministers are combining their resources to ensure that a major advance factory is provided so that it can whet the appetites of potential investors in the town.

Deputy Sean Canney who is Minister for the Office of Public Works and Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor (originally from Milltown) who has responsibility for Jobs and Innovation are to meet over the coming week to discuss the employment situation in Tuam.

They have confirmed that plans will be submitted for an advance factory on the IDA-owned lands on the Dunmore Road out of Tuam. These lands have been vacant for several years.

It has been stated that no new manufacturing industry will come to Tuam unless there is factory space available to them. It is an issue that has been raised on a continuous basis by the Cathaoirleach of the Tuam Municipal Council, Cllr Tom McHugh.

There has been a demand that the IDA apply for planning permission for two advance factories for their 27 acre business park in Tuam which has been idle for almost two decades.

Anger has been expressed that since an IDA representative attended a meeting of Tuam Municipal Council last year, there had been no progress on this front.

Cllr Tom McHugh of Fine Gael is livid over the fact that there has been no response from the IDA since that meeting with regard to their plans for this extensive site on the outskirts of Tuam.

There were calls on the IDA at the time to seek planning permission for two advance factories on the site at Dunmore Road in Tuam but they have failed to lodge any application in this regard.

Cllr McHugh asked a recent of Tuam Municipal Council if there had been any response from the IDA since a representative from the body attended a previous meeting in 2015.

Director of Services Liam Gavin said that there had been no response but said that if the councillor wished, the IDA could be asked back to another meeting of Tuam Municipal Council.

Cllr McHugh asked if there was any point as he said that it was obvious that the IDA had very little interest in Tuam. He said that it wasn’t asking for much for them to just apply for planning permission – if was not that they were being asked to construct the advance factories.

At the meeting last year several councillors urged the IDA not to forget the smaller towns and villages when it came to job creation. However, they were told that this was a huge challenge as investors were targeting the bigger centres of population.

The meeting was attended a Business Development Manager with the IDA, who said that they represented four major employers in Tuam who had created 440 new full time jobs in the town over the past five years.

She specifically referred to Valeo Visions Systems which currently provides more than 1,000 full time and part time jobs at its car components plant on the Dunmore Road.

Cllr McHugh said that this company was currently operating out of at least four different premises and could be accommodated in one unit within the extensive IDA Business Park.


Hospital worker failed to self isolate after trip to red-list country

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Management at University Hospital Galway have been asked to investigate ‘as a matter of urgency’ an allegation that a security employee at the hospital returned to work within the 14-day restriction period after coming back from a ‘red-list’ country.

The person has already worked at least two shifts at the hospital – including looking after an elderly patient – despite the fact that the restriction period would not have expired until this Sunday, September 20.

The Galway City Tribune can reveal that in a letter from SIPTU official to a senior UHG manager, it is alleged there was breach of protocol over recent days by an employee of an outsourced security company.

According to the letter to Services Manager Geoff Ginnety, while the worker was not covered under HSE employee rules, “they still must comply with the Government issued protocols”.

The letter from SIPTU states that the worker in question had told his colleagues that he was in a red-listed country and that ‘he did not have to restrict his movements’ for 14 days and could return to work.

“I request that you [Services Manager at UHG] address these concerns as a matter of urgency and provide clear guidance on how to deal with the issue,” the SIPTU letter states.

According to information accessed by the Galway City Tribune, the employee in question returned from a red-listed country on September 6 last and underwent a test for Covid-19 five days later on September 11.

Shortly after that, according to his employers, the results of his Covid tests came back as negative. The Galway City Tribune understands that he returned to his night-shift work on Tuesday night, September 15, and also worked the Wednesday night shift of September 16.

This newspaper has also been informed by reliable sources that on his first night back on duty the employee was left in charge of an elderly patient, while on his second night back at work, he was dutied to the Emergency Department.

When contacted by the Galway City Tribune, a spokesperson for the HSE said that they could not comment on issues relating to individual staff.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Leisureland sinks with €20,000 per week losses

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The plug is being pulled on Leisureland – leaving hundreds of swimmers, mostly children, and trainee lifeguards, high and dry.

Galway Salthill Fáilte CLG, the company that operates the publicly-owned facility, has confirmed it plans to shut down its swimming pool and gym, leaving members of six aquatic clubs, hundreds of schoolchildren, and the general public, without an amenity for the foreseeable future.

Swimming clubs fear they will lose a whole generation of young swimmers in Galway if the pool closes. And they have warned that it could end up costing €1 million to repair and reopen the pool after a prolonged closure.

Leisureland blamed the impact of coronavirus for its financial woes, with losses running at an average of €20,000 per week.

The company said that by August it had already spent its annual €300,000 subsidy subvention from Galway City Council, and the local authority has indicated it is not in a position to increase the subsidy further in 2020.

The planned closure – which could result in the furloughing of over 20 staff from next month – has shocked the local aquatic community.

A lengthy hiatus with Leisureland closed will mean Galway will lose a ‘whole generation’ of swimmers, according to Eamon Caulfield, President of Galway Swimming Club and member and former chairperson of Corrib Water Polo Club.

“We’re particularly upset and aggrieved that this is going ahead, it’s shocking. They should be looking to reverse this decision,” he said this week.

The majority of the five aquatic clubs that use the facility (Galway SC, Shark SC, Laser SC and Tribes and Corrib water polo clubs) are made up of children aged 10-18, including some international athletes. Hundreds of children from Galway schools also learn to swim there.

A water safety group has been using the pool every Sunday morning since it opened in 1973, he said.

“Historically it is where Galway gets its lifeguards from. How can you not have swim lessons in a public pool? How can you not have water safety taught in a pool in Galway?

“It beggars belief, we’re on the sea. The water safety people, where are they going to go, how are we going to get lifeguards for beaches? How are we going to get teachers for teaching swimming?” asked Mr Caulfield.

The clubs have roughly 150 members each and generate €150,000 revenue annually for Leisureland.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full version, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway Gardaí get more than 1,000 house party calls

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway Gardaí have responded to more 1,000 house calls relating to house parties during the pandemic from mid-March to early September – the vast majority of them in the city area, it was revealed this week.

Chief Superintendent, Tom Curley, told the Galway City Tribune, that the figures for house party Garda call-outs were ‘startling’ and a source of major concern.

“This is a no-brainer. For anyone thinking of a house party, the simple message is – don’t do it. A serious amount of Garda time is now being spent dealing with house-party related incidents,” he said.

Between March 18 and September 1 this year, the Galway Garda Division responded to 1,034 house-party related calls, most of them in the city area.

“This a real and pressing issue not only for the Gardaí and the health authorities but also for the general public at large.

“Large numbers of people gathering in an enclosed house setting can be potentially disastrous in terms of our efforts to contain the spread of this virus. House parties are out – it’s as simple as that,” said Chief Supt Curley.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read more on Covid in Galway, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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