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Call for zero tolerance on match day parking

Denise McNamara



The Gardaí and community wardens should adopt a “zero tolerance” parking policy targeting Pearse Stadium and Terryland during match days to prevent people becoming hostages in their homes.

That is the view of newly co-opted councillor Collette Connolly, who accused the authorities of a piecemeal attitude when it came to enforcing the parking laws.

Parents with children at nearly every school in the city caused chaos at drop off or collection times, she fumed at this week’s Joint City Policing Committee meeting.

“I’ve seen elderly people in wheelchairs not knowing what to do, going on the roads because of cars parked on the footpaths,” railed the independent councillor who replaced her sister Catherine on the City Council last month.

“Every single time the city is held to ransom every time there’s a match in Salthill and on the Dyke Road. Car parks are not being used during the matches. People are being held up for hours in their cars during a match…The vision we must have is equality for everyone.”

She said irresponsible parking was causing an inherent danger to kids, who were running across the road.

“Could the Gardaí on a pilot basis – every six months – work with the warden with specific schools to get the message out in relation to the crisis of illegal parking?”

She submitted a motion calling on the Gardaí and community wardens to adopt a zero tolerance parking policy.

Mayor Frank Fahy, who seconded the motion, said after his complaints at the last meeting, Gardaí were more proactive in issuing tickets to cars parked on footpaths and disabled spots – however, this had now lapsed the problem was as bad as ever.

“Every day I can count 40 or 50 cars parked illegally. It reflects very poorly on the Garda Siochána when cars are parked illegally . . . it’s the people with disabilities, people with canes having to come off the footpaths and going onto the road.”

He said hot spots around the House Hotel, Eglinton Street and Foster Street were causing obstructions for emergency vehicles and serious congestion for the rest of the motorists.

Cllr Donal Lyons said the last time this zero tolerance policy was in place a clamping company was enforcing the parking laws which ended up with the clamping of parents of sick children attending GPs in an emergency, painting the city in a very bad light.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the city would need a minimum of 1,000 Gardaí to deal with every breach and “still we wouldn’t be in a position to commit to zero tolerance on illegal parking”.

He said patrol cars did not physically generate parking tickets but issued fines electronically. Some 251 parking tickets had been issued in Salthill since January.

“We are considering going back to the old system and issuing a ticket as a preventative measure. Tickets are being issued but it would seem we have to issue more,” he stated.

Gardaí would also look into working with schools to address dangerous parking.

An amended motion by Cllr Connolly calling on the Gardaí to take a proactive approach to illegal parking was passed unanimously.


Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.

College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.

Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.

In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.

“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.

“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.

Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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