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AIB plan redevelopment at Lynch’s Castle for 2018

Enda Cunningham

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City planners have approved an extension of time for extensive redevelopment works at Lynch’s Castle in the city centre.

According to AIB, building work on the project – which involves the construction of a new three-storey building on the site – will begin in December 2018 and take around 12 months to complete.

The bank’s plan to consolidate their regional operations within Lynch’s Castle and to double staff was put on hold because of the collapse in the banking sector.

Planning permission had been sought in 2008 – coinciding with the country’s descent into financial crisis – but was not approved until more than 18 months later due to the appeals process.

Plans for the overhaul on what is a Protected Structure involve the demolition of later additions to the castle – including the removal of buttresses – and repairs to the existing castle.

They also include the construction of a new three storey building with a glazed facade on Upper Abbeygate Street, which will house a new banking hall and offices. However, work never commenced on the site, and permission was due to expire this month.

“Due to economic issues beyond the control of [AIB], the development has been prevented from being commenced to date,” the bank said in its application for a five year Extension of Duration on the plans.

Planners approved the extension until 2020, ruling: “It is felt that the proposed extensions and alterations will not have a detrimental impact on the character and importance of Lynch’s Castle or the adjoining Protected Structures or the character or amenity of the Architectural Conservation Area and that it will not compromise the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The original grant of permission came despite objections from local environmental watchdog group An Taisce and the City Council’s own Heritage Officer.

But the Council ordered that all archaeological and architectural features must be retained and displayed on the site, that traditional limestone mortars be used for all pointing and rebuilding of stonework and that the facade of the new building must be constructed from Ballinasloe limestone.

That decision was subsequently appealed by An Taisce, who said while they are generally supportive of development there, the proposed design was not sufficiently well thought-out and there was an over-use of glass blocks.

Connacht Tribune

Two arrested following taxi hijacking in Galway

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Gardaí have arrested two men following the hijacking of a taxi in Co Galway last night.

Shortly before midnight, Gardaí received a report that two men who were passengers in a taxi had attacked the driver and stole his vehicle.

The driver was ejected from the car on the M18 motorway.

Gardaí were alerted and observed the car in Claregalway.

A managed containment operation to ‘block in’ the taxi was put in place with assistance from the armed Regional Support Unit.

The car was brought to a stop on Bothar na dTreabh and two men fled on foot. The two men, one in his mid-20s and the other in his early-30s, were subsequently arrested.

They are currently detained at Garda HQ in Renmore under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Small shops fight back in store wars

Dara Bradley

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Caroline McCarthy

A popular city boutique has threatened to re-open in breach of Covid-19 restrictions – to highlight the unfairness of supermarkets selling so-called ‘non-essential’ goods.

The proprietor of Lanidor on Eyre Street said she is ‘taking a stand’, and has urged all retailers to follow suit, unless the authorities crack-down on those bending the rules.

“This stuff about ‘oh we’re all in it together’ is a load of rubbish,” fumed Caroline McCarthy, who said the multiples were ignoring restrictions while independent retailers remain shuttered.

She said all non-essential retail should be open, or none, but the current situation was “discriminatory”.

“I’ve had it at this stage. I’ve lost it. I can’t put up with this anymore. On a point of principle and on a practical level, someone has to do something about it. It’s not that we want to open.

“We have adhered to every single one of the regulations. But we are making a stand now. We will go ahead and open, at a date to be announced, if they are not shut down. And we would call on retailers across the country to do the same,” she said.

Under public health guidelines only ‘essential’ retail outlets are permitted to open. They are not permitted to sell ‘non-essential’ goods during Level 5. This is to stop people congregating and browsing in order to limit the spread of the virus.

But large retailers such as Dunnes Stores and Marks and Spencer stand accused of selling ‘non-essential’ clothing during the pandemic, even though clothes shops should be closed.

Galway Gardaí visited stores last weekend on foot of a complaint.

A spokesperson for M&S said it was following the guidelines but the tills in its Galway store’s clothing section was staffed on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Vaccine roll-out stalls after advice

Dara Bradley

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Staff from the Paediatric Department at UHG (from left) Mary Scally, Clinical Nurse Manager 1; Cecily Cassidy, Clinical Nurse Manager 2; and Lisa Porter, Play Specialist with shadowbox theatres and accompanying tote bags which are being shared with children in hospital during April as part of an Arts and Health project for Galway 2020 called A Bird at My Window and Other Stories.

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme in Galway has stalled due to updated advice on the AstraZeneca jab.

Operations at the mass vaccination centre at Galway Racecourse in Ballybrit were  suspended Tuesday, for the remainder of this week at least, to allow the HSE to ‘reconfigure’ its roll-out plan following the new guidance.

The European Medical Agency safety committee concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of AstraZeneca.

National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) then issued revised recommendations for its use, including not administering it to people under 60.

For people who have already received their first dose, NIAC said people aged 60 and older should continue to receive their second dose, as should those under 60 with underlying conditions.

Those under 60 without underlying health conditions – mostly healthcare staff – should have an extended period between the first and second dose, “to allow for further assessment of the benefits and risks as more evidence becomes available”.

Anyone who develops unusual blood clots with low platelets after the first dose should not take the second.

HSE West said vaccination clinics for the over-60s proceeded as planned; it would not say how many people had their vaccination jabs cancelled at Ballybrit.

“Everyone scheduled to get their vaccine at Ballybrit vaccination centre this week has been contacted,” a spokesperson said.

“The HSE is actively looking at the implications of the updated NIAC recommendations for the vaccine roll-out and the implementation of the programme. On receipt of national guidance we will recommence scheduling of vaccines at the Ballybrit vaccination centre.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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