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City amphitheatre ambition a step closer to reality



Yeats College is one step closer to providing an amphitheatre and sports facilities for its students at a site on the shores of Lough Atalia.

Terry Fahy, principal of the private second-level school on nearby College Road, made a submission to the draft City Development Plan, in which he sought a specific development objective for these RA (residential/amenity)-zoned lands for consideration of a sports ground and facilities.

The response of the City Council’s Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, was that there be no change, however.

“The proposal submitted raises issues in terms of its nature, size, visual amenity, protection of existing walk/cycleway/right of way, car parking spaces requirements, visual amenity, and its proximity to adjacent protected European Natura 2000 sites,” his response stated.

Senior executive planner, Helen Coleman, explained that the 1.2-acre site was “challenged” by a number of issues.

“Access is not straightforward, there is a flooding issue, and ecological issues – any planning application would need to be referred to the OPW and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and it would be teased out in that manner,” she said.

However, Cllr Peter Keane pointed out that the applicant had gone along the ‘proper route’ – seeing a pre-planning meeting, before an application was to be made – but that “obstacles” were put in his way; hence his submission to the CDP, he added.

“I am absolutely satisfied to propose the submission on behalf of the applicant,” Cllr Keane said.

“It is consistent with the R&A uses, and he is not looking to get away from the zoning it enjoys.”

The proposal was seconded by Cllr Pearce Flannery, and supported by most of his fellow members.

Cllr Cathal Ó Conchúir said it was admirable that the applicant was seeking to provide sports facilities for his students, which could only benefit all.

“We have the lowest participation of females in sport in the world,” he said.

“This will be the most unobtrusive feature of the landscape I can think of.”

Cllr Frank Fahy, whose daughter attended Yeats College, recalled that students attended from early morning to late at night in preparation for their Leaving Cert exams.

“There are absolutely no facilities for students to exercise – this is a thousand times better than what’s currently there, and students will be walking to it,” he said.

Cllr Colette Connolly described the location as “very difficult” as it required access through The Huntsman.

“This is one of the most beautiful sites, an area of real beauty… the site is completely landlocked, and we don’t want to encourage more parking in that area.”

Senior Planner, Caroline Phelan, said that the site was a Special Area of Conservation, within close proximity to a special habitat (a lagoon), and it also faced a risk of flooding.

Director of Services, Joe O’Neill, also said that this proposal would not eliminate the obstacles regarding access and the SAC.

“It is laudable that it is for the use of his students, and he says that he is open to others using it, but how are they going to get there?” he asked.

Cllr Peter Keane changed his original motion to read: ‘consider the development of these lands for the provision of sports facilities and an amphitheatre’ – 15 councillors voted in favour of this motion, while three abstained (Mairead Farrell, Anna Marley, and Colette Connolly).

Connacht Tribune

Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash



A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.

Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.

The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.

The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.

The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.

Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them. 

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Connacht Tribune

Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra



Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in Galway during Storm Barra



Arrangements have been made to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers ahead of Storm Barra hitting Galway in the morning.

Accommodation will be provided at locations including The Glenoaks in the Westside, the Fairgreen in the city centre and Osterley Lodge in Salthill (Contact 085 8009709 or 085 8009641).

The COPE Galway Day Centre will remain open all day Tuesday from 8.30am to closing.

Meanwhile, Galway City Council has warned that a number of roads may be closed in the morning ahead of high tide, including Salthill Prom.

Following ongoing meetings of the Inter-Agency Co-ordination group today and based on the latest information available, a number of precautionary measures have been put in place.

Road Closures:

  • Closure of Silverstrand Beach at 6pm Monday
  • Closure of Ballyloughane Beach at midnight (Local Traffic only)
  • Closure of Rosshill Road at 6am Tuesday
  • Closure of Salthill Promenade at midnight:
  • Blackrock Tower to Seapoint and onto Grattan Road. (Closure of Grattan Road may be required. Monitoring in place to decide.)
  • Potential closure of roads along the Claddagh, Docks and Spanish Arch from 5am Tuesday

A spokesperson said: “There may be further closures throughout the city as required and the situation will be closely monitored and regular updates given.  Motorists will experience delays as a result.”

The carparks at Toft Park and on the Promenade have been closed and all vehicle owners have been asked to move their vehicles from car parks and along the Prom.

Sand bags are now available at the following manned locations: the former Tourist Kiosk in Salthill (behind Seapoint); Claddagh Hall; Galway Fire Station; Spanish Arch; the Docks (beside the pedestrian crossing at St Nicholas Street).

“Anyone who avails of sandbags should retain them in their possession for use throughout the upcoming winter season. Please do not take any more sandbags than you need,” the Council spokesperson said.

“The main impacts will include strong winds, falling trees and potential flooding.  High tide in Galway Bay will be at 6.45am Tuesday.

“Some trees may be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment, and with more rain forecast with Storm Barra some disruption due to falling trees/branches is likely. Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves may block drains and gullies, leading to surface flooding. Galway City Council staff have been carrying out drainage maintenance across the city in advance of the storm to minimise potential flooding risks.

“Storm Barra will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges. This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts,” the Council said.

Business owners and homeowners are advised to check their own drains and secure any loose objects within their property in advance of the warning taking effect.

“Galway City Council advises remaining indoors during the period of the warning and, as always, to avoid coastal areas. Parks and other wooded areas should also be avoided, due to the danger of falling trees. If absolutely essential to travel, please exercise extreme caution out and about especially on coastal roads and exposed shores.

“City Council staff will be on standby for clean-up following the passing of Storm Barra and the associated warning once it has been deemed safe to do so.  Please note the associated clean-up which will commence on Wednesday morning may impact on traffic.”

Galway City Council Customer Services phone lines are available to deal with emergency calls on 091 536400. For the Galway County Council area, the phone number is 091 509069.

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