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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for a united front on Capital of Culture

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Hannah Kiely

Divisions and rivalries between the county and city need to be set aside, and a united front established so that Galway can fully maximise the potential that the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture offers, Councillors were told at Monday’s meeting in County Hall.

Cllr Joe Byrne was reacting to the presentation made by Galway 2020 CEO, Hannah Kiely, in which she said that the participation of the towns and villages in the County were critical to its success.

“We are Galway ‘le chéile’ – not the city OR the county,” Cllr Byrne told fellow members.

“We are playing ourselves down in this chamber – it’s a ‘Galway’ thing. For people abroad, they have no concept of city or county. Get off the fence, start talking about Galway 2020, it’ll be of benefit to our communities by the amount of work we put on.”

Indicating that there was, indeed, a divide, Cllr Seán Ó Tuairisc remarked: “The name should reflect that.”

Ms Kiely had said that the various projects organised as part of Galway 2020 would have a great impact on the County, among them is ‘Then and Now’ – a series of commissions in the great houses of East Galway.

“We hope we will have lots of interactions in your own wards, as we go around the county,” she said.

“The coming together of the city and county is very important.”

She said that over 60% of the communities that had engaged with the ‘Small Towns, Big Ideas’ funding initiative had come from the County, a figure that came as no surprise to some Councillors who were already well invested in Galway 2020.

Board member and County Mayor, Cllr Eileen Mannion, said that this particular initiative had energised people, who had then engaged with it.

Councillors were keen to receive assurances, while Ms Kiely was there with them, that there would be a legacy left behind after 2020.

“There has to be a legacy afterwards,” she told them.

“We don’t have a budget to build anything, but we have excitement, creativity, and enthusiasm.”

“It is the only show in town – this is the most amazing unique opportunity we could have in terms of culture for the next 15 years.

“It will attract two million visitors, and it is important that they be dispersed across the city and county. For every €1 spent through the European Capital of Culture, there is a return of €7, so it is a good investment.

“We are the envy of the whole country, this is something to be hugely proud of.”

 

■ For more on this story, see the print edition of the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Proposals to change speed limits in Galway City are voted down

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Planned speed limit changes for Galway City are stuck in the slow lane after councillors rejected a proposal for new bylaws.

The bylaws would have introduced a 30km/h zone in the city centre and 19 other changes, including increased speed limits in areas such as Bóthar na dTreabh to 80km/h.

Management at City Hall have now been sent back to the drawing board to draft new speed limit bylaws after a majority of elected members voted against them – it could at least two years before new proposals are ready.

At a meeting this week, several councillors spoke out against plans to increase speed limits to 80km/h on approach roads into the city.

Many of them criticised the system of selecting roads for speed limit changes, lashed the public consultation process and decried the lack of input from councillors, despite speed limits being a reserved function of elected members.

Councillors were particularly peeved that the proposal had to be accepted in its entirety, without amendments, or rejected outright – they could not pick and choose individual changes.

Deputy Mayor Collette Connolly (Ind) led the charge against the bylaws, which she described as “idiotic”.

She lambasted the “incomprehensible decision” not to lower speed limits to 30km/h outside schools and she said it was “utter raiméis” (nonsense) that speeds can’t be lowered to 30km/h, if 85% of the traffic on that road travels at 50km/h.

Cllr Connolly said the bylaws were “flawed”, and cited the decision to leave Rahoon Road/Shantalla Road at 50km/h, despite a crèche and two schools on other roads like Lough Atalia remaining at 30km/h.

(Photo: A speed van on Bóthar na dTreabh on Thursday morning)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, including how each councillor voted and a map of the proposed changes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Corrib to be opened up as new tourism and leisure blueway

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first steps are to be taken next year to explore the development of a ‘blueway’ tourism and leisure trail along the River Corrib, from Nimmo’s Pier and onto the lake itself.

This week, Galway City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that monies had been set aside to begin exploratory work on what will be known as the Great Western Blueway.

A figure of €65,000 has been allocated in the City Council’s 2021 annual budget to commission an initial study of what’s involved in the setting up a blueway trail on the Corrib.

“The Corrib river and the lake are a most wonderful natural asset for the entire western region and I have no doubt that this project has fantastic potential in terms of enhancing the tourism pulling power of the city and its environs,” Mr McGrath told the Galway City Tribune this week.

Should the project come to fruition, it would be the fifth such waterway attraction to be developed in the island of Ireland.

Already there are Blueways on the Shannon, from Drumshanbo to Lanesboro; the Shannon-Erne project from Leitrim village to Belturbet (Cavan); the Royal Canal at Mullingar; and at Lough Derg from Portumna to Scariff in Clare.

According to Mr McGrath, the attractions developed along the Great Western Blueway would be environmentally friendly, featuring such attractions as kayaking, paddling, adjacent cycle trails as well as scenic walkways and visitor centres.
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

Future of Leisureland secured through increased Council funding

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The future of the Leisureland pool and gym facility, which last September faced possible closure due to the Covid emergency, has been guaranteed for the coming year, following an increased financial subsidy from the City Council in their 2021 annual budget.

City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told the Galway City Tribune that the local authority was committed to the future of the Leisureland facility and had increased the subsidy for 2021 from €300,000 to €500,000, in the process securing its viability for the coming year.

“We are all acutely aware of the value of the Leisureland facility, not only to local clubs but also to the many, many people who use the pool and gym on a weekly and often on a daily basis.

“Like so many other aspects of life and leisure in Ireland, the coronavirus emergency had a hugely negative impact on the viability of the facility, but thankfully we can now look forward with confidence to its continued usage in 2021,” said Mr. McGrath.

He also said that the City Council was committed to the further enhancement and usage of the greater Leisureland site which could act as a focal point for the regeneration of the entire Salthill area as a major local and national tourism centre.
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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