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Claddagh joins City Central Ward in electoral shake-up



The Claddagh has been annexed into the Galway City Central electoral area in an otherwise uneventful rejig of the city’s local election boundaries announced last week.

The Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee has moved the Claddagh from Galway City West to Galway City Central – the main ity recommendation in the report.

Galway City East remains unchanged apart from gaining around 100 votes in Lough Atalia Road from Galway City Central.

The recommendation to move Claddagh was made “in order to improve the balance of representation between each of the three six-seat local electoral areas”.

There will be 18 elected representatives following next year’s local election in May and each of the three city electoral areas will maintain six councillors. The big ‘winners’ in the carve-up are two sitting independents: Collette Connolly and Mike Cubbard.

Cllr Connolly was unsuccessful as a Labour Party candidate in City Central in 2014 but was co-opted onto the Council when her sister, Catherine Connolly, was elected to Dáil Éireann in the 2016 General Election.

Deputy Connolly was the undisputed Queen of the Claddagh in the 2014 locals, where she polled an extraordinary 40% of first preferences.

If Cllr Collette Connolly runs again – and it is likely she will – she will retain many of those Claddagh votes, as well as polling well in her native Shantalla. The rejig also gives a fillip to City Central poll-topper in 2014 Cllr Cubbard, whose family hails from Claddagh.

Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó Conchúir, who won a seat in Galway City West last time, will be most disappointed with the recommendation. After Catherine Connolly, the tallies for 2014 local elections show he was the second most popular candidate in Claddagh polling 14%, which was significant in him securing a seat. Labour’s Niall McNelis (10%) and Fianna Fáil’s Peter Keane (10.5%) also both polled well in Claddagh last time out.

Meanwhile, there are big changes to the electoral boundaries in County Galway with two additional areas created based on population changes.

Connemara has been split into two, with Barna, Furbo, Spiddal, Moycullen, Cois Fharraige, Leitir Mór and the Aran Islands comprising South Connemara with five councillors. North Connemara including Clifden and Oughterard has a larger territorial area, but smaller populations, and will have four councillors.

Clarinbridge has been taken out of Oranmore/Athenry area, which has taken in parts of Tuam Municipal District. Loughrea Municipal District has been split up, too, with a new area including Kinvara and Gort.


Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.

The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.

“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.

He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.

Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.

The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.

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‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.

Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.

Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.

He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.

“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.

“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.

In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.

Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place



The helipad on the former Shantalla pitch.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.

Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.

The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.

Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.

Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.

Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.

Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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