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Campaign to make Galway one of first National Park Cities



The campaign to secure National Park City status for Galway kicked off in earnest on last week, with a launch celebrating the raft of ecological and environmental projects already underway across the city and county.

Spearheaded by veteran environmental campaigner Brendan Smith, this initiative seeks to make Galway one of the first national park cities in the world – something Brendan said couldn’t be more timely as the world faces down the barrel of environmental destruction.

“The world has become disconnected with nature. We have to work together to save ourselves, to save nature and to save the planet,” said Mr Smith.

Launched at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, Mr Smith said it was an ideal location to start the campaign, as the connection between technology and environmental action would be key.

“This might seem an unusual place to launch a national park city, but the future is with smart cities and the two have to work together.

“Galway is famous the world over for its arts, and for its science and technology. We have those two big pillars, technology and the arts – the third pillar is the green,” he said.

“We’re more connected than ever before in terms of technology, but in the real world, we’re more disconnected than ever,” he added.

Some 20 speakers from different organisations and groups across the city spoke at the launch, and it was evident that the use of both technology and the arts would be vital to secure national park city designation and promoting the green environment in Galway.

Scientists from NUIG told attendees of their work on citizen science; the creation of a mobile lab with 50 sensors monitoring the atmosphere; an app to identify species of mushrooms; outdoor classrooms and laboratories; managing Ireland’s peatlands; mapping bee habitats; upcycling using 3D printing; and using an app to collect tree data.

Speakers from community and voluntary groups illustrated the importance of Galway’s waterways; the Connemara Greenway as a transport corridor from the west into the city; the urban bee project; and using Merlin Woods as an education centre for flora and fauna.

The Buildings Department at NUIG outlined their work to achieve a green campus, while Scoil Náisiúnta Iognáid (the Jes) showed the work that has gone into their outdoor classroom – with a representation from Our Lady’s College also at the launch.

From the business community, Dangan-based Aerogen outlined how their employees planted 550 trees in Terryland Forest Park during National Tree Week, and have invested in a tree nursery at Ballinfoile Community Garden – a template for businesses to engage with the environmental sector. The tourism sector was also represented with the Nox Hotel in attendance – a hotel located right at the edge of Terryland Forest Park.

This multi-sectoral approach was celebrated by guest of honour, Duncan Stewart, who said Galway was a national leader in environmental issues.

“We should be in a state of panic,” said Mr Stewart. “We should have been in a state of panic 20 years ago.”

“When you look at Ireland, we have the highest greenhouse gas emissions in Europe per person. It’s not just about the little things at the edges – we need to see fundamental change because we are stealing our children’s futures,” added the well-known environmentalist.


Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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Just 85 affordable homes to be built in Galway City by 2025



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  A total of just 85 affordable homes will be built in Galway City during the remainder of the Government’s lifetime, it was revealed during a debate in the Seanad this week.

An animated Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) told Seanad Éireann that there would be “riots on the streets of Galway” at the disappointing news that was imparted to him by a junior minister.

In the Dáil, Junior Housing Minister, Malcolm Noonan, confirmed that it was planned to provide 85 affordable homes as part of a Merlin Woods development between now and 2025.

He understood that there were sites identified for affordable housing schemes in other parts of the city, but no applications had been received for funding.

“Housing delivery in Galway City Council is a matter for Galway City Council and it is down to the local authority to strike the balance in respect of social and affordable housing delivery.

“If the Senator feels that the local authority is not delivering enough in that regard, it is really a matter for them to drive a more ambitious agenda. The Department will not be found wanting in funding schemes,” Minister Noonan added.

But Senator Crowe yesterday told the Galway City Tribune that it was an incredibly disappointing and unacceptable answer that there would only be 85 new builds when it came to affordable homes.

(Image: Minister Malcolm Noonan said the new Merlin Woods development will include 85 affordable homes).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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