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Cinema, homes, retail and offices planned for Ballinasloe site



A masterplan is being drawn up for a multi-million euro development in Ballinasloe, which will include almost 100 homes, a cinema, nursing home, offices, retail units and a drive-thru restaurant.

It is potentially the biggest investment the town has seen in well over a decade, running into tens of millions of euro.

Already, a planning application has been lodged with Galway County Council for Phase 1 of the development at Dunlo, and involves the construction of 95 new homes and a childcare facility, at an estimated cost of around €14 million.

Provisional designs are also being considered for a cinema, nursing home “and maybe some retail units and a drive-thru restaurant” on the extensive site at Harbour Road and Dunlo – although these have not been finalised.

Jacqueline Kenny and Cian O’Connell from Claregalway, directors of Limehill Esker Ltd, have sought permission for the development on an 8.5-acre site at Dunlo, adjacent to Tesco.

According to the application, the site is part of a larger master plan scheme for the Dunlo area.

“The overall scheme consists of retail, leisure, office spaces, a creche and residential units along with carparking and open space. The subject site incorporates Phase 1 of the development. Any further developments relating to this scheme will be subsequent to separate planning applications,” the application reads.

The company owns an extensive tranche of land surrounding Tesco.

Phase 1 involves the construction of: 30 two-bed apartments; 25 two-bed terraced; 26 three-bed terraced; 14 four-bed semi-detached houses, 641 square metre creche and 154 parking spaces.

According to documentation submitted with the application, it is difficult to project selling prices for the second quarter of 2020, but it is envisaged that the asking prices would be €225,000 for two-bed units; €282,500 to €300,000 for three-bed units and €317,500 for four-bed units.

An agreement in principle has been reached to transfer 10 of the homes to the County Council to meet social housing requirements.

According to an Ecological Impact Assessment submitted with the application, the development is confined to habitats which are “considered to be of local importance (lower value)”.

“The established hedgerows along the northern boundary of the site will be retained as they are of local biodiversity value. There will be some loss of hedgerow to the west of the site.

“No significant habitat for bird species, including wintering or breeding habitat occurs within the site.

“It is considered that the proposed housing development will not result in the loss of habitats and species of high ecological significance and will not have any significant impacts on the ecology of the wider area,” the study reads.

The ‘decision due’ date on the application for Phase 1 is November 21, although Council planners are expected to request further information due to the scale of the plans.

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Connacht Tribune

Nurses call in Chief Fire Officer on ED overcrowding



UHG's Emergency Department.

The nurses’ union has formally urged the Chief Fire Officer to investigate 17 alleged breaches of the fire regulations as a result of chronic overcrowding in the emergency department at University Hospital Galway.

It’s the second time the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has done so since Christmas, fearing the lives of staff and patients are being put in grave danger.

The emergency department was busier than normal last week, with between 222 and 251 patients turning up to be seen per day. On Wednesday of last week there were 53 patients waiting on trolleys, according to figures released by the Saolta Hospital group. That went down to 47 on Thursday and Friday.

This week has seen little let up. On Monday and Tuesday the number of people who could only get a trolley was down to 36 and 38 respectively.

Local area representative of the INMO, Anne Burke, said as a result of very high attendances at the temporary emergency department, management had opened a transit area where between 12 and 14 people could be accommodated in cubicles.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Comer has eyes on the prize



Damien Comer undergoing an eye test at Specsavers; the Galway star is encouraging all to look after their eyesight and hearing.

If you Google Damien Comer, the first entry the search returns is a dedicated Wikipedia page, which declares: “He’s better than David Clifford”.

And while Wikipedia as a source of fact isn’t necessarily always reliable, who are we to argue with it?

But whatever about comparisons with Kerry greats, the Annaghdown clubman is certainly up there among Galway’s finest ever footballers.

Winning a first All-Star last season, from his third nomination, was proof of that. It was a special personal accolade, but he’d trade it in a shot for a Celtic Cross.

“It was nice to get but if I finish my career not having won an All-Ireland, I’ll be very disappointed,” he declared.

Comer hints that the 2022 All-Ireland final loss to Kerry last July was not one of his better games in maroon, and it’s one he thinks about regularly.

“Yeah, I would yeah, I’d think about it a bit. But I try to forget it as well, because it wasn’t a good day for me, personally, anyway.

“You try to forget about it and yet you have to try to learn from it and improve on the mistakes you made, and stuff you didn’t do that you should’ve done, and different things that you can bring to this season.

“It’s one that’s hard to forget about really because we were there for so long. Sixty minutes in, neck-and-neck, and then they just pulled away, so it was disappointing,” he said.

Damien Comer has teamed up with Specsavers to encourage people to take a more proactive approach to their eye and hearing health. There’s a full interview with him ahead of Sunday’s National Football League Final, is in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway publican reflects on traumatic journey that ended with his abuser in jail



Paul Grealish. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway businessman Paul Grealish remembers the moment back in 2000 when he was given a sheet of paper and asked to write about his life. He was on weekend-long self-development course that he’d been sent on by his brother John. At the time, John was managing director of their family business for which Paul and their sister, Joan, also worked.

“The course was probably done in an attempt to make it easier to manage me,” says Paul with a laugh, adding that he “was tough to manage” back then.

He was enjoying the course – until he received that blank sheet.

“I got about four or five sentences in, writing about my early life. Until I got to the primary school part . . . I was in tears,” he remembers. “I was so used to compartmentalising things, I didn’t see the danger.”

In the early 1970s, aged nine and ten years, Paul had been beaten and sexually abused by his teacher, Brother Thomas Caulfield, at Tuam CBS primary school.

He had repressed those memories for nearly three decades.

“You bury the memory, and you bury it as deep as you can. There’s an awareness of something terrible there but it’s too frightening for you to actively remember.”

Paul was so terrified of those memories that he’d lost all recollection of his childhood. He couldn’t tell his story.

He was meant to show it to one of the course leaders – a counsellor, he thinks. Instead, Paul put the nearly-blank sheet before the man and explained what had happened.

Realising Paul’s plight, that man gave him a list of phone numbers for counsellors in Galway.

“Every now and again, I’d look at it and think about ringing them but I didn’t,” Paul says.

However, the abuse that had robbed Paul of his childhood and blighted his adulthood with feelings of guilt and self-hatred refused to stay buried. Finally, he knew he had to deal with it. That journey began in the early 2000s and Paul finally got closure earlier this month when Caulfield was sentenced to 27 months in prison – with the final seven suspended – for his crime.

Read Paul’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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