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Builders sent back to drawing board on housing plan

Enda Cunningham

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Plans by a major Galway property development company to get ‘back in action’ have been stalled, after city planners ordered a redesign of proposals for 18 new houses on the Cappagh Road.

Kenny Developments sought permission in July for the development on the 1.65 acre site at Lenabower, which is adjacent to Cappagh Park.

The application is for:
■ 14 four-bed semi-detached homes which will be two-and-a-half storeys in height
■ 3 four-bed detached, also two-and-a-half storeys in height
■ 1 five-bed house that is partly two-and-a-half and partly two storeys high
■ Surface parking for 36 cars and a new entrance junction from Cappagh Road

However, planners sent the developers back to the drawing board, pointing out that some of the site is zoned for Recreation and Amenity use, which should be omitted.

“The omission of the RA zoned lands will lead to a redesign of the northern housing element, in this case the Planning Authority has concerns with regards to remainder of the northern element of the site which abuts the entrance to the park,” planners said.

They ordered an alternative housing plan be prepared “which would provide for dwellings/apartments which would have an open shared open space which would address the park entrance, public roadway and housing estate, while allowing for an open/low hedge boundary with the park, in addition to the provision of direct pedestrian access to the footpath leading to the park”.

They have also sought clarification on whether Kennys still own a 3.4 acre site to the north, where they were previously refused permission for 48 new houses and apartments.

Two objections have been lodged to the application by individual residents on the Cappagh Road, on the grounds that the house types proposed are not compatible with the existing streetscape; that the sewerage network would not be able to cope and that it would increase traffic congestion.

A previous application on a neighbouring site by Model Investment Partnership – which has common directors with Kenny Developments – was rejected by city planners in 2011 on the grounds that it was premature because a potential route for the link from the Western Distributor Road to the proposed Galway City Outer Bypass had not been identified.

Connacht Tribune

New York-based Galwegian thrives in heart of virus epi-centre

Denise McNamara

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Tadhg Reynolds in Times Square, on the empty streets of Manhattan.

An aspiring entrepreneur and Galway native, who had just set up a digital marketing company in New York when the pandemic struck, continues to work twelve-hour days as companies scramble to stay afloat.

Tadhg Reynolds, 24, from Kinvara, left for a better life exactly a year ago, on graduating from NUIG with a degree in Business Information Systems.

On his arrival, he joined a digital marketing start-up in Manhattan focused on e-commerce before branching out on his own, concentrating on Facebook ads, email and Instagram posts for companies in the US as well as in Ireland.

And then Covid-19 sent shockwaves around the world.

America is now the epi-centre of the pandemic and New York has been hardest hit, with 12,000 new cases confirmed and 600 deaths recorded on the day Tadhg spoke to the Connacht Tribune.

Tadhg had been worried that his newly found business would fall by the wayside as digital marketing is usually the first thing cut in hard times.

“I’ve actually started taking on new clients – companies selling home exercise equipment, hand sanitisers, hand moisturisers are doing really well so I’m helping them capitalise and everything seems to be going ok,” he remarks.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitals plan for anticipated virus upsurge

Dara Bradley

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ICU staff at Portiuncula Hospital – with a very clear message for the public. Photo taken by hospital staff because of visiting restrictions.

Extra space to store dead bodies prior to burials and cremations has been added at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

Upgrade works at the mortuary had already started prior to the Covid-19 crisis but additional capacity for potential coronavirus deaths was added as a worst case scenario precaution.

‘Preliminary talks’ about the possibility of opening a temporary field hospital in Galway, if in the worst-case scenario the four city hospitals fill-up, have also taken place as part of the HSE’s wide-ranging pandemic plans.

The capacity planning comes as Dr Pat Nash, Chief Clinical Director of Saolta Hospitals Group this week warned we are ‘far from over the hump’ in relation to Covid-19 infections and deaths, even though the public’s compliance with social distancing has slowed the spread of the virus.

The latest figures confirm there were a total of 128 positive cases of Covid-19 in Galway, as of midnight on Sunday, compared with 86 the previous Sunday. That’s up 42 cases in a week, but Sunday’s sharp rise of 16 new cases accounted for almost 40%.

Several hospital sources confirmed that temporary refrigerated prefabricated buildings have been installed alongside the morgue. These have increased by many multiples the 15 spaces in the existing, permanent morgue. An autopsy theatre at the morgue has been moved temporarily to the Fever Hospital building at UHG.

Members of the public who contacted the Connacht Tribune had noticed building work at the city morgue at UHG.

Dr Nash said some construction work was progressing beside the morgue on a new laboratory building that will accommodate the blood and tissue establishment unit. That unit was previously granted planning permission as part of an extension to the morgue.

 

See full story – and a further 20 pages of coverage of the Covid-19 crisis – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

NUIG research team found pandemic was long on the cards

Denise McNamara

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NUIG Professor Máire Connolly.

Back in 2017, a research report led by NUIG Professor Máire Connolly warned that the risk of a pandemic emerging was greater than ever before.

Influenza viruses originating in animals was first in the list of identified threats to human health.

“The timing and origin of the next pandemic is uncertain, but improved preparedness can minimise the impact on human lives and health, and the disruption to economies and societies that results,” she remarked on the publication of the EU ‘Pandem’ report following 18 months of research.

It was unfortunately all too prescient.

“It is a little bit eerie looking back,” Prof Connolly admits this week. “I don’t think we actually envisaged it would be as harrowing as it is.”

The Galway City native’s previous roles with the World Health Organisation (WHO) revolved around health security and disease control in emergencies. She worked with the organisation between 1995 and 2012, often at the heart of devastating crises in the likes of Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Gaza, East Timor, Uganda and Syria..

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on www.connachttribune.ie

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