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City businesses recoil in horror over prospect of losing Races

Dara Bradley

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Galway Racecourse Manager John Maloney: "It is something that would be catastrophic to us.”

Businesses have recoiled in horror at suggestions the Galway Races summer festival will be a non-runner for at least two years if plans for a new controversial city bypass are approved.

Four of the proposed routes for the new ring-road impact on the famous Ballybrit track, which would have to close to racing for at least two years. Race Week is worth €60 to the local economy annually and losing €120 million would amount to ‘financial Armageddon’ for tourism-related city businesses.

General Manager at Ballybrit, John Moloney, said: “All of the routes will cause chaos. It is something that would be catastrophic to us.”

A spokesperson for Galway Latin Quarter said its members are “horrified” at the prospect of two years without Galway Races.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. Who comes up with the idea that you put a road through the racecourse – it just shows the lack of planning and thinking. It would be most important from our perspective, but also from a tourism perspective, that the races wouldn’t be stopped for two years for a road.

“We in the Latin Quarter are absolutely horrified at the thought of it. The consequences for the tourism industry would be catastrophic,” the spokesperson said.

Galway Chamber says it is “very worried” at the prospect of losing the Galway Races for two years – it is the lifeblood of the tourism and hospitality sector in the city.

A spokesperson said that the Chamber remains in favour of a bypass to solve the city’s congestion. “Of course Galway Chamber would be worried – very worried – about any negative impact on something like the Galway Races, which contributes €60 million to the local economy every year.”

The spokesperson said the Chamber is studying the options and will be making a submission. “The route has not been chosen yet. It is important that everyone makes their views known. We are concerned about all impacts this might have, including on events like the Races but also on people and the impact on their homes,” the spokesperson added.

Consultants working on the road project will choose the preferred route in April. One proposed bypass route goes right through the racecourse, cutting into the actual track twice, to make way for an underground tunnel.

Stables will have to be knocked and car parking spaces eliminated to make way for two other potential routes. And on another proposed route the main entrance to the track is completely severed and blocked off.

The developers on the project say the work can be done in nine months, but Galway Racecourse have warned it would be at least two years before the track is ready to host racing again.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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