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Call for zero tolerance on match day parking

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Swimmer James clocks up one million metres in year

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From the Galway City Tribune – A keen swimmer in Galway has clocked up an astonishing one million metres in a year as part of his gruelling exercise schedule.

James Brennan reached the impressive milestone over 400 swims last years,  which were split between the sea in Salthill and across the road early-morning sessions at Leisureland pool.

He would count the lengths in his head or on his watch, regularly swimming up to 240 lengths over 90 minutes in the pool and up to 2km off the beach for a half-hour. On a regular week he would swim the equivalent of 20km.

When James realised he was at 800,000 metres last November, he decided to go all-out to pass the one-million mark by the end of 2022.

So he concentrated on swimming for at least ten hours a week leading up to Christmas and celebrated passing his goal before breaking up for the festivities.

“I’ve always done a lot of swimming. I’ve competed for my local swimming club in Claremorris, County Mayo, and was involved in the Corrib Polo Water Club races. I won the Heskin League, which is a combination of the 14 different open water races in Salthill. I also won the league in Claremorris,” he reveals.

The software engineer has been living in Galway for  13 years and has been a member of Leisureland for four years.

“It’s a really great pool, it has nice facilities, the staff are all very nice,” he reflects.

Facilities Manager of the Council-owned premises, Ian Brennan, said the phenomenal distance was the equivalent of swimming from Galway to Amsterdam.

He heard about James’s achievement from Green Party Councillor and Leisureland board member Niall Murphy, who happened to be swimming in the lane beside James when the Mayo man reached the goal.

“I felt that this is a hugely worthy event and fills me with amazement that we have a superhero in our midst. The future is bright.”

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CITY TRIBUNE

Ó Tuathail not interested in Galway City Council co-option

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From the Galway City Tribune – A two-time general election candidate for the Social Democrats in Galway West has ruled out filling the party’s vacant seat on Galway City Council.

Niall Ó Tuathail, a health reform advisor, has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that he will not be co-opted to the City Council seat vacated by the shock resignation of Councillor Owen Hanley in January.

“I’m not going to be put forward for co-option,” said Mr Ó Tuathail.

The father-of-two has lived abroad for a time since taking a step back from electoral politics in the wake of his 2020 General Election defeat.

He confirmed this week he has not reconsidered his decision to take a long break from frontline politics.

“I’m still a Soc Dem member and we’re in a process looking for someone strong to represent the values of the people who voted for us in 2019,” Mr Ó Tuathail said.

He polled 3,653 first preference votes in 2020 in Galway West and was only eliminated after the 12th count in the five-seat constituency.

That was an increase on the 3,455 number ones he received in his first Dáil election in 2016, when he also bowed out on the 12th count.

Mr Ó Tuathail was synonymous with the Social Democrats’ brand in Galway, and was heavily involved with the local referenda campaigns for marriage equality and to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

It surprised many political observers when he opted not to fight a local election for the party in 2019.

That was a breakthrough election for the Soc Dems, when Owen Hanley became the party’s first ever Galway City councillor by winning a seat in Galway City East. Sharon Nolan narrowly missed out on a seat in City Central during the same election.

Mr Hanley cited allegations made against him when he announced in January that he was resigning his position.

He said that the matters were “very serious” and would take a considerable amount of time for the authorities to investigate.

The resignation of Mr Hanley left a vacancy on the City Council.

It is the prerogative of the Social Democrats to nominate a person who will be co-opted to replace him as a councillor at City Hall.

A spokesperson for the party told the Tribune last week that it has not yet chosen a successor.

“We don’t have any update in relation to the co-option. I will let you know when we have a candidate,” the spokesperson said.

One problem faced by the party is that a number of possible replacements for Mr Hanley have left the Soc Dems over policy and other issues.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway

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Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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