Planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the Sportsground – but with the condition that any events outside the norm, such as concerts, would have to receive the prior approval of Galway City Council.
This comes after some speculation locally that the new development, which involves the construction of a 12,000-capacity stadium, could be a location for large-scale concerts.
In a submission to the Council, the Lough Atalia Development Association demanded that a stipulation be put in place banning “free standing events” at the Sportsground.
In conditions attached to the planning permission granted, city planners have specified that Connacht Rugby cannot deviate from a list of events attached as part of its application – which included a significant number of Connacht Rugby Pro games, community events, media open days or briefings and school tours – but no concerts.
It is stated that these limitations are in place “to clarify the nature and extent of development approved by this permission”.
It is understood that Connacht Rugby have not included for consideration any concerts or night-time events as part of their financial model for funding the Sportsground’s redevelopment.
Plans for the College Road venue include the construction of a new grandstand, high-performance training centre, 4G synthetic playing pitch, bars, food stands and supporter facilities.
A number of other conditions have been attached, including the controlled use of floodlighting – for three hours on televised match days, with pre-match lighting for one-and-a-half hours and post-match for two hours.
It is stated that floodlights “shall not be used for concerts or any other recreational activity, as not applied for under this planning application”.
The planner’s report specifies that floodlighting shall not be used after 10.30pm on any day, and independent logs of usage must also be kept.
The developer has also been instructed to submit a traffic management plan prior to the first match at the new facility “in the interest of maximising permeability to the site and to adjoining lands”.
A total of seven observations were lodged on the application for planning – many expressing concern over traffic and noise pollution.
However, planners at City Hall concluded that the proposed stadium would provide “positive contribution to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.
“It is considered that, subject to compliance with the conditions outlined below, the proposed development will not give rise to any issues that would impact negatively on residential amenity in the local area and it is not considered to undermine the objectives of the Galway City Council Development Plan.”
Last week, city councillors voted to give top priority for up to €30 million in Government sports grants to the Sportsground – with many believing the redevelopment of Connacht Rugby’s home ground had the best chance of securing funding in a competition that puts Galway up against large sports infrastructure projects across the five Irish regional cities.
Welcoming the news that planning permission had been granted, Cllr Mike Crowe said this would be a significant project for the region.
“I’m delighted that planning permission has been granted for the Sportsground and I look forward to seeing the development progress.
“The development of this new stadium is very important, not only to Galway City, but also to the county and the entire region,” said the Fianna Fáil councillor.
Gardaí issue warning on ‘movie money’
Gardaí have warned of an increase in ‘novelty’ euro notes – which are almost identical to real currency – in circulation.
The notes are usually marked ‘movie money’ or ‘prop money’, but this can often go unnoticed by the person handling it. They do not have any security features.
Revenue Officers have seized notes in varying denominations representing a value of €430,895 in recent mail centre detections.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “People need to be aware that such notes exist and at busy times, especially late at night, they need to exercise a little care and attention.
“These notes are easily identifiable if precautionary checks are made. Also people who try to tender such notes as real face prosecution, a possible prison sentence and a conviction, which is for life. Such convictions have serious ramifications if one wanted to travel, to work in certain sectors and it can affect their credit rating”.
“We advise businesses and members of the public who deal in cash to be aware that such notes are in circulation and take appropriate precautionary measures. Business owners should ensure staff members handling cash are alerted to watch out for these fraudulent notes.
“The use of fraudulent currency when trying to purchase goods or services is an offence under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and carries a potential prison sentence of 10 years.
“These fraudulent notes should not be accepted as legal tender and any incidents of persons trying to pay with “prop money” should be reported to Gardaí immediately,” said Det Supt Cryan.
Fire at site of former Corrib Great Southern Hotel
Emergency services are at the scene of a large fire at the site of the former Corrib Great Southern Hotel which broke out in the early hours of this morning.
Four units of the Galway Fire and Rescue Service were called to the former hotel near GMIT at 5.45am. A unit from Athenry is also in attendance at the scene.
Fire fighters are maintaining a presence at the derelict hotel, which has been the scene of a number of arson attacks over the past number of years.
Three refused bail on violent disorder charges
Three men who were arrested this morning as part of a Garda investigation into violent disorder at a funeral in Mervue last year, have been denied bail by a District Court Judge.
Denis Hannafin, Curry; Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road – all in Longford – were charged with violent disorder in connection with an incident which occurred outside Holy Family funeral home on in January 13 last year.
Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told the court this morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family outside the funeral home on January 13, 2019, at approximately 3.15pm, when a number of members of the McGinley family made their way towards them.
An altercation ensued, which resulted in one member of the McGinley family suffering a gunshot wound, while another received a stab wound to the back. A third man suffered acid wounds.
Gardaí explained that there is a feud going on between the two families, which began when juvenile members of the families got into a fight at a pool hall.
Detective Leonard voiced concerns that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences and intimidate members of the McGinley family.
Judge Seamus Hughes had remanded the three accused in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday, February 28.