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Call for market probe after Eyre Square left a muddy mess

Francis Farragher

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A city councillor has called for ‘a root and branch investigation’ of the operation of the Christmas Market at Eyre Square after he claimed that the area had been left in a ‘very poor state’ following last December’s event.

Cllr. Padraig Conneely claimed that conditions laid down by the City Council in relation to the operation of the market were ‘not strictly adhered to’ on a number of issues.

“We now require a root and branch investigation of the operation of the Christmas Market – its location, its operation methods, its impact on the Eyre Square grass area and its overall impact on the city,” said Cllr. Conneely.

He also said that the impact of the Christmas Market on the weekly St. Nicholas’ Market should be taken into account in any review, while he also claimed that the deadline in relation to the payment of the operational fee to the City Council had not been adhered to.

“The market promoters also failed to inform the City Council – as per their conditions – that Lidl would be erecting 11 stalls in Eyre Square as part of the Christmas Market.

“A public space, such as Eyre Square, is for the recreational use of the Galway public and visitors to the city,” said Cllr. Conneely.

He also claimed that only half of the agreed operational fee of €30,000 had been paid to the City Council, as of this week, and he asked: ‘when will the remainder of this fee be paid up?’.

A spokesman for the City Council told the Galway City Tribune that any remedial works that needed to be carried out to restore the green area of Eyre Square, would be undertaken by their Parks Committee at no cost to the city.

“The Market promoters pay a fee of €30,000 for the Eyre Square area and in addition to that they provide a bond of a further €20,000 to cover any cost that could arise in terms of carrying out any remedial works.

“Where grass areas are covered in the mid-winter period there will be some temporary impact on the grass area, but certain measures were put in place for last year’s market to minimise any such damage.

“Our Parks Committee has closely monitored the condition of Eyre Square and is fully confident that it will be in pristine condition again by the late spring, early summer period.

“The only constraint on them at the moment, in terms of completing this work, is the lack of growth in the mid-winter period, but you can take it, that the Square will be in perfect shape again over the coming months,” said the City Council spokesman.

He also confirmed that while €15,000 had been paid by the market organisers up until now, the City Council had been assured that the outstanding €15,000 would be paid up ‘over the coming days’.

He also pointed out that the decision to have the Christmas Market in Eyre Square was one taken at a full meeting of the City Council after all the issues had been carefully considered.

“The decision to go ahead with the Christmas Market came before a full meeting of the City Council and was passed by 17 votes to one,” said the spokesman.

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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