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Ben Dunne gets permission for new Galway gym

Enda Cunningham

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Businessman Ben Dunne has been given the green light for a new fitness centre in Galway – the decision came the same day that rival gym operator Hector Ó hEochagáin sought to have his objection withdrawn.

The broadcaster’s letter to planners came the week after the Connacht Tribune reported he objected on the grounds of road safety issues, indiscriminate parking and “serious” noise nuisance.

Hector – who used his real name Seán Ó hEochagáin in his correspondence with the City Council – operates his own gym just doors away from the building where Dunne’s gym will be based.

He wrote to planners on August 31 – the day the Council was due to decide on the planning application – and asked for the removal of his objection.

“I am providing this letter in order to disregard my original observation (objection) in relation to a planning application submitted by Ben Dunne Fitness Ireland. I trust that the Council will afford due regard to this letter and the removal of my objection,” he wrote.

Planners replied to say his letter was noted, but they could not remove his objection from the planning file.

“We can’t remove your submission from file, but your intention to disregard observations is noted,” they said.

Units 28, 29, 30 in Briarhill Business Park (near Galway Racecourse) will become the latest premises in the Ben Dunne Gym chain – Hector’s premises is Unit 62.

Planners approved the Ben Dunne application, although they added stipulations in relation to construction work and noise.

Construction activity has been restricted to between 8am and 6pm Monday to Fridays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

They added: “The operator shall insulate against the transmission of sound and the activities carried out therein and shall ensure that the plant services for the unit shall not make or cause to be made any noise or vibration which is so loud, so continuous or so repeated or of such duration or pitch or at such times as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to persons in any premises in the neighbourhood or to persons lawfully using any public place.”

In the objection which he later sought to withdraw, Hector told planners that the City Development Plan objectives do not automatically infer that planning permission should be granted.

He added that a gym would lead to increased traffic load, indiscriminate parking and a serious noise nuisance.

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí seek help in locating missing man

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.

He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.

Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.

Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.

Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.

There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.

Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.

“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.

“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.

“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”

(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Developer banks on boom in rental property market

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The backer of the Crown Square scheme in Mervue is planning an increase in the number of apartments in the development following a review of the economic viability of the project.

The 345 apartments will specifically target the rental market.

Crown Square Developments Ltd, which is operated by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has told Galway City Council that the amended plans will form part of a new planning application to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála under ‘Strategic Housing Development’ legislation.

According to the company, the property market has changed since it was granted permission in November 2019 for 288 apartments in three blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height.

Mr Rhatigan has now sought planning permission for an 18% reduction in the overall size of basement levels and a reduction in car parking from 1,377 to 1,012 spaces. Cycle parking spaces will increase from 1,110 to 1,200.

The plan also involves the relocation of the vehicular and pedestrian access to the development on the Monivea Road, which will now be closer to McDonagh Avenue. The existing planned access is at the south-easternmost point of the site, but is now planned to move further west.
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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