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Biggest cruise liner in years to visit Galway tomorrow

Ciaran Tierney

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The biggest cruise liner to visit Galway City in modern times is set to dock near Mutton Island tomorrow (Wednesday).

The 238 metre Crystal Symphony will moor in Galway Bay for the day with 922 passengers and 545 crew on board.

It is more than 20% bigger than The World, which docked near Mutton Island last summer.

Based in Miami, the Crystal Symphony is coming to Galway as part of a seven day tour of Britain and Ireland which includes stop-offs in Cork, Dublin, and Derry.

“It is a magnificent ship,” said Galway Harbour CEO Eamonn Bradshaw yesterday. “They have just spent US $65 million (€49 million) to refurbish it.”

The 238 metre liner has 480 State rooms, 18 penthouse suites, and 44 penthouse State rooms on board.

The week-long tour of Britain and Ireland costs passengers approximately $7,600 (€5,700) and is fully booked out.

It is the sixth and biggest major cruise liner to visit Galway in 2014, with Artiana and Club Med 2 yet to arrive over the coming weeks.

Valued at $250m (€188m), the Crystal Symphony is run by Crystal Cruises, which was voted the world’s best cruise line.

It features 24-hour butler service, bars, restaurants, shopping arcade, casino, library, children’s centre and cinema, gym, fitness centre and treatment rooms, tennis court and outdoor pool.

Its sister ship, the Crystal Serenity, is also one of five cruisers which have been booked to visit the city next year.

“The quality of these ships, and the type of passengers they attract, give a huge boost to a place like Galway,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“Many of the passengers will be brought on bus tours of Connemara or Clare, but most of them intend to stay in the city and explore the streets of Galway.”

Mr Bradshaw said that attracting major cruise liners was a significant element of the plan to expand Galway Harbour in the coming years.

Read more in this week’s Connacht Sentinel

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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