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Chipper under threat as Council demands removal from mart

Declan Tierney

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The chips may be down for hungry farmers after Galway County Council moved to close a chipper that has been operating outside a Connemara mart for the last year and a half.

The matter has now been referred to An Bord Pleanala who will rule within the next four months if planning permission is required for the chip van outside the mart.

It is owned and run by local photographer Mark Furniss who has been involved in the fast food business for more than a decade in Clifden.

He has been operating outside the mart in Clifden four evenings each week for the past 18 months – and despite operating within the confines of the mart property, Galway County Council want him to cease trading.

Mr Furniss received correspondence from Galway County Council early last month informing him that the current situation could not continue indefinitely and that he should comply with an enforcement notice issued in November for him to cease trading on the mart grounds immediately.

The Council warned that failure to do so would leave the planning authority with no alternative but to issue legal proceedings. The matter has now been referred to An Bord Pleanala who will rule is planning is required for the chipper – which is appropriately called The Chipper.

Mr Furniss has been trading in Clifden since 2004. “Initially I was trading in the centre of Clifden, seven days a week for five years.

“In order to trade on any state owned areas such as public roads or designated trading bays requires a Casual Trading Licence granted by the local authority, which is how I was able to trade legally in the centre of town for this length of time.

“Business was reasonably successful and I had great trade from tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately, in April 2009 I was informed by Galway County Council that they had made a mistake for the previous five years.

“Due to local bye-laws casual trading licences could only be granted between the hours of 10.30am and 6pm on Fridays only. My licence was revoked and I was ordered to stop trading within 24 hours or face the consequences,” he told The Connacht Tribune.

He described it as a huge setback as it was the main source of income.

“I am HSE registered and fully insured and under the assumption that this is all that is required to trade legally on private property. After all, I trade on many different properties at different events throughout the year,” he explained.

The issue will be decided by An Bord Pleanala by April.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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