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CITY TRIBUNE

Big battle brewing over beach in Ballyloughane

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

In the Galway City Council electoral area of Galway City East, Renmore is a key battleground.

And in Renmore, issues with Ballyloughane Beach – the area’s crown jewel – has always been a vote-getter.

Be it seaweed on the beach; horses and sulkies; parking and facilities – or the lack of them; weeds at and width of the road leading to it; and the quality of the bathing water, Ballyloughane has long been a source of frustration for voters.

For politicians, it can work both ways. If you’re seen to be improving the beach, then you might get a stroke.

But if the electorate is particularly peed off, city councillors in the area, no matter how hard-working and well-intentioned, face a backlash. And that’s even if the problem at Ballyloughane is the fault of Council officials, Government or State agencies and not local elected members.

No other city councillor has been more associated with Ballyloughane Beach in recent years than Terry O’Flaherty (Ind). For better or worse, Ballyloughane Beach is Terry’s baby.

In a long and distinguished career, she’s mentioned Ballyloughane Beach in the Chamber as many times as her late mother, Bridie, who was also a great champion of Ballyloughane, did.

It’s O’Flaherty’s fiefdom; other politicians go there at their peril. That explains why she nearly took the snout off relative newcomer to the Council, Alan Cheevers, a Fianna Fáiler, at the final meeting before the summer recess.

She was having none of it when New Kid On The Block, Cheesy Cheevers said that Ballyloughane had been neglected and needed the same investment as City West beaches, Salthill and Silverstrand.

Terry hit back. The ruling pact – of which she is a member – had voted to allocate money in this year’s budget for new toilets and changing facilities at the beach, she said.

Fianna Fáil – including Cheesy Cheevers – voted against that budget, and, by extension, according to the former Polltopper, voted against the planned investment in Ballyloughane.

The works have been delayed slightly, due to issues with where they will be located, but “don’t you worry about Ballyloughane”, she told her area rival, it will be done.

Afterwards, Cheesy Cheevers bit back. “The bottom line is, she’s over 20 years the self-proclaimed Queen of Ballyloughane, and it’s a sad indictment on the area when we still have a coal bunker as toilets down there,” he fumed.

Terry’s supporters, though, say they are pleased Cheevers is finally supporting her efforts, which she’s been lobbying for in the background, not on local radio.

“She secured €40,000 in the budget for the works, a budget he voted against. Terry has been quietly doing the work on the ground for Ballyloughane, and her record of delivery speaks for itself,” said a source.

This one could run and run . . .

(Photo: Cllr Terry O’Flaherty: Ballyloughane Beach has been her baby for many years and she intends it to remain that way).
This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. To read more, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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