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Angry residents in pledge to oppose site for Travellers



Any attempt to build another halting site for Travellers on the east side of the city will be resisted, Galway City Council has been warned.

Residents of Ballybane and Ballybrit have united to halt plans for a hardstand at a local authority owned site located in the old village of Ballybane.

Locals have also vowed to resist plans for Traveller-specific social housing on the land.

They have the backing of local area City Councillors, who gave commitments at a public meeting that they would oppose plans for a new Traveller hardstand in Ballybane.

Around 60 people attended a meeting to air their views about the proposal for Traveller accommodation at a site purchased by the Council last year.

The public meeting at Flannery’s Hotel was chaired by Daniel Lynch, chairperson of an umbrella group representing 16 estates in Ballybrit and Ballybane.

Representatives from Rahylin Glebe, Rockland Avenue, Monivea Park, Castlepark, Lios Caisil, Clareview Park and other areas were present at the meeting. Mr Lynch said residents had “concerns” about the plans for more Traveller accommodation in their area.

These were echoed by the chairperson of the city’s housing SPC, Declan McDonnell. “All six area councillors, from what I could see, are opposed to this. There’s a lot of anger out there about this,” he said.

His independent Council colleague agreed. “We will not support another hardstand in Ballybane; that was made clear at the meeting,” insisted City Councillor, Terry O’Flaherty.

“There are enough hardstands on the east side of the city. There needs to be better integration,” she said.

Cllr McDonnell added: “There are two big issues. That site was earmarked for a new fire station, and people want to know will the fire station go there or not. The second issue is that over 80% of the Travelling community in Galway is on the east side of the city. We want fairness. All three electoral wards in the city should take their fair share.”

Cllr McDonnell confirmed that councillors agreed to a Traveller Accommodation programme that commits to three new Traveller-specific sites. At that stage, the exact location of the sites hadn’t been earmarked.

Any plans would have to go through the Part 8 planning process and voted on by 18 elected members. Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath could overrule them if they vote against the Part 8 although that hasn’t happened before.

At the public meeting, residents wondered why the land couldn’t be used for recreation and amenity instead.

“They want to know why the Council doesn’t put a playground there. But the funding from Government is for Traveller accommodation, not for anything else,” added Cllr McDonnell.

He complained that the Council purchased the site, adjacent to existing local authority lands, without first telling City Councillors. “They went behind our backs,” he fumed.

The local authority’s Traveller Accommodation Plan identifies sites in Ballybane, Doughiska and Knocknacarra to meet the needs of the city’s Traveller population.

Council plans for a “Traveller specific group housing scheme” on land it owns at Keeraun on the Ballymoneen Road met with opposition earlier this year.


Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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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Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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