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Connacht Tribune

Camp-out protest to highlight accommodation shortage

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Galway’s third level students will take-over Eyre Square next Tuesday evening to highlight the dire student accommodation shortage facing the city and county.

With thousands of students returning to Galway for the start of the academic year, as many as 250 from GMIT and NUIG will stage a mock ‘camp-out’ in the northern end of the Square to highlight the increasing strain on student accommodation.

Dáil Éireann heard earlier this year that several students had to camp-out and sleep rough in Eyre Square due to the chronic shortage of housing available for students last September. Every year in recent years, many students have no other option but to couch-surf or live temporarily in hostels because there isn’t enough student accommodation available for rent.

The Students Unions at both colleges have joined forces to highlight the problem, with the camp-out from 6pm to 10pm at Eyre Square next Tuesday, September 11.

The protest has the full backing of ONE Galway, which is organising a housing accommodation workshop, a follow-up event on Wednesday, September 12, upstairs in Monroe’s Tavern from 12 noon to 3pm.

Launched by Mayor of Galway Niall McNelis, the workshop will include a panel discussion made up of both SU presidents, Martin O’Connor from COPE, Rachel Timothy from Threshold and a speaker from the Irish Secondary Schools Union. The panelists will discuss their perspectives on the housing crisis and then it will be opened up to the floor for questions.

Ahead of next week’s protest, GMIT SU President, Aaron Burke said: “Students are not cash cows and this can bring extreme pressure on both parents and students, especially when people are struggling to stay in college. The rate of the grant has not increased since 2012 yet rental prices have increased year-on-year for six years straight. This kind of accommodation far exceeds the already high rental prices that exist in the city.”

NUIG SU President, Megan Reilly said: “We cannot stand by these luxury student accommodation providers taking advantage of the current crisis. At this rate, people could be paying up to €1,250 a month for one room in one apartment; some people wouldn’t even pay that on their mortgage monthly. At the other end of the spectrum we have students who are living in hostels or commuting hours to go to college because they can’t afford to live in Galway City.”

The ONE Galway initiative was launched in February and is a local collaboration between the trade union and student union movements.

It aims to build capacity to improve working and living standards for all, while increasing their collective influence to achieve legislative change and policy outcomes that deliver decent work, income and living standards for workers, families and the local community in Galway.The work of the group centres on the priority themes of precarious working and the housing crisis, which affect all workers across all sectors and within all communities.

Speaking about Wednesday’s housing workshop, Clement Shevlin of SIPTU and ONE Galway said: “In keeping with the ONE Galway ethos, we have invited all community groups from within the city, that in one way or another deal with the fall out of the housing crisis.

“Each of these groups will have a stand and be able to share information. There will stands there for mental health groups, housing groups, LGBT groups, local employment services, Social Welfare and Revenue, Galway hospitality groups, youth groups, and representatives of migrants and Travellers. The Trade Unions will be at the one stand under the ONE Galway banner.”

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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