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CITY TRIBUNE

Citizen spends €20,000 of his own money tackling Galway’s weeds

Denise McNamara

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Armed with a shovel, overalls and plastic bags, the weedsman patrols the city like a man on a mission.

Padhraic Faherty is a retired secondary teacher from Barna who has dedicated the past 18 years to ridding Galway’s parks, footpaths and roadsides of unsightly weeds.

Known as the weedsman, he reckons he has spent €20,000 on purchasing weed killer in that period in his role as a conscientious citizen.

“The roundabouts have gone wild – in fact I’d say 99% of the city is ignored apart from Eyre Square. You don’t see this in Cork or Dublin. I visited Sligo recently and it was absolutely immaculate. You don’t see a weed in London or Paris. Yet, here in Galway we’re swamped,” he exclaims.

He was driven to distraction for the past week in his bid to remove three foot high weeds from a field at the back of Seapoint and along the edge of a children’s playground.

“I’ve pulled tonnes and tonnes of weeds – docks, hogweed – these are dangerous to children. I’ve got gloves and protective clothing, yet I got burned,” he explained.

Underneath this haven of ugly plants, he made an interesting discovery.

“I found these lovely round stone chips with lovely shrubs that you’d find on the continent. They were put on plastic sheeting that was ironically designed to stop the weeds. There must be 20 years’ accumulation of overgrowth covering how it was meant to look when first designed,” stated Padhraic.

“The bit I’ve done looks beautiful. And then you have this big stack of weeds beside it. Will the Council even bother to remove them? They don’t do any manual work anymore, only mowing and removing the rubbish.”

His complaints were echoed by Galway City Councillor Padraig Conneely who complained that the roundabouts in particular are “an absolute disgrace”.

“The city’s roundabouts should be colourful and friendly and portray an image of warmth throughout,” he stressed.

“But they’re dull and overgrown and send out a lazy image of the city.”

Independent Councillor Terry O’Flaherty said she has learned this week that a contractor has been appointed to target weeds, including ragwort, which is toxic for animals and spreads by wind-borne seed.

But she said that it was a shame that the work was not undertaken earlier the year, before the weeds took such hold.

“The weeds in a number of the older estates are very unsightly and should be sprayed at least twice a year. The roadway from the bridge to the beach in Ballyloughane is completely overgrown with weeds, as is the side of road on the Tuam Road right up to the city boundary,” she stated.

“While I welcome the appointment of a contractor to carry out these works, together with City Council staff, I feel that the spraying of weeds should commence much earlier in the season.

It won’t come soon enough for the weedsman.

“It’s laughable – only that we’re the European City of Culture in a few years’ time. Here we have the equivalent of a neglected farmer’s field in a tourist hotspot.”

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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