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City abuzz as it prepares for €60m boost from Races



Galway Bookmakers Eddie and John Mulholland arrive at Ballybrit for the start of the Galway Racing festival.

The city is abuzz for the annual Galway Races Festival, which got underway yesterday.

Around 150,000 punters are expected to make the pilgrimage to Ballybrit racecourse for famous Galway Race week.

On course bookmakers are expected to turn over in excess of €8 million while the Tote will handle well over €4 million.

The biggest and best racing festival in the country, the Galway Races will pump more than €60 million into the local economy.

Sports Minister Michael Ring yesterday singled out the Galway Races as an event that has helped to boost the country’s overseas tourist numbers.

A total of 52 races will be run over the seven days, with a record number of UK entries declared.

One of the highlights of seven-day festival is Ladies Day, when around 40,000 punters are expected at the course.

The Galway Hurdle is the feature race but all eyes will be on the fashion with the best dressed lady competition sponsored this year again by Anthony Ryan’s.

The top prize is a diamond pendant and matching earrings worth €8,500 as well as €1,000 in cash, a €1,500 shopping spree at their Shop Street store as well as a Lancôme hamper worth €500 and a hospitality package for the Galway Races in October.

The Galway Plate, which goes to post Wednesday, is traditionally another big crowd puller. The prize fund for the Galway Hurdle is €250,000 while there is a €200,000 fund for the Galway Plate.

The Willie Mullins trained favourite for the hurdle, Pique Sous, to be ridden by Paul Townend, has pulled out of the race.

The festival got off to a flyer yesterday evening. Monday’s races were again sponsored by local hotels including Radisson, Galway Bay Hotel, Claregalway Hotel, Clayton Hotel, Connacht Hotel and Pillo Hotel.

Ireland rugby players, Conor Murray, David Kilcoyne, Fergus McFadden, and Robbie Henshaw, as well as former players Alan Quinlan and Stephen Ferris, were among the sports stars at the track for ‘sports hero’ evening.

Racing gets underway at 5.05pm today, Tuesday, and Friday. The first race is off at 3pm on Wednesday, 1.50pm on Thursday, 2.35pm on Saturday and 2.15pm on Sunday.

RTÉ will be showing five races on the first four days of the festival, while At The Races, Sky channel 415, will be showing every race throughout the week. Galway Bay FM will also provide live coverage of every race.

The Tote jackpots for each day of racing will be €30,000 Monday and Tuesday, €40,000 Wednesday and Thursday, €30,000 on Friday, and €20,000 on Saturday and Sunday.

Bus Éireann will operate a regular shuttle bus service from Eyre Square and Irish Rail have added additional trains to their schedule for Wednesday and Thursday.

Punters are advised that children under 12 will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by their parent.

Galway City Council has advised that its recycling centre at Liosbán Estate will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, and will open as normal the rest of eth week. The city’s dog pound is closed until Tuesday, August 5.




Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport



From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

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

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Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

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

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Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

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

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