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CITY TRIBUNE

Cllrs declare housing ‘emergency’

Denise McNamara

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Protestors at the Raise the Roof rally in Eyre Square on Monday calling on the Government to declare a housing and homelessness emergency. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Just 54 additional homes came on stream for people on the Galway City Council housing list last year, far below the target set by the Department of Housing under the Rebuilding Ireland Programme and well behind the previous two years.

But the situation is set to dramatically improve within the next three years with 1,075 social housing units earmarked to be built, acquired or leased by the Council and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).

In an update to city councillors on the Housing Capital Delivery Programme 2019-2021, Acting Director of Services for Housing, Dermot Maho,n said the local authority would have 229 this year, 307 next year and 539 in the final year of the programme, with a total projected cost of €220 million. Between 2016 and 2018, a total of 306 homes were added to the stock – 130, then 122 and 54 – at a cost of €50m. The details of the housing programme were first reported by the Galway City Tribune in February.

“The targets are set by the Department. In 2018 we didn’t come close to target – nor were we going to. A construction programme is now ramping up considerably . . . the target is 1,089 units by 2021 and that’s what we hope to achieve.”

Some 207 would be built by the first quarter of next year – the biggest number of those at Cairéal Mór on the Headford Road where 96 units are under construction by the housing body Respond. A further 52 would accommodate tenants at Radharc na Greine on the Monivea Road.

Work on another 152 would begin by June – 78 at Ard Cre, Ballyburke (Knocknacarra) and 74 on the Ballymoneen Road while councillors would have to vote on whether to progress 187 homes at seven locations before the end of the year – including 16 properties planned for green areas of established estates in Ballinfoile Park, Corrib Park and Castlepark.

In addition to the programme, Council land at Ballyburke that could create 120 homes would be developed under a ‘development licence model’ – 15% would be social housing, 15% affordable housing while 70% would be sold into private hands. Another site at Merlin Park adjacent to Coillte Mhuirlinne with room for 130 homes is also earmarked for a similar scheme after 2021.

“We are conscious of the need for sustainable communities so a mix of social, affordable and private housing is preferable,” said Mr Mahon.

Councillor Mike Cubbard (Ind) said there was no appetite for building on ‘infill’ green area sites and predicted they would not pass when voted on by councillors.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City shoppers ‘intimidated’ by scourge of street drinkers

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour in Galway is dissuading customers from entering popular city centre stores.

The proprietor of a well-known business has raised concerns over “ongoing intimidating behaviour” outside shops on the city’s main thoroughfare.

“We have had customers turn away because they sometimes feel threatened by the atmosphere they encounter outside,” the store manager said.

Meanwhile, businesses ‘back the West’ are also concerned about drug dealing and drug taking in the area. Simon Heaslip, Chair of Galway’s Westend, said the area’s biggest problem is “open [drug] dealing in Pump Lane that takes place on a regular basis”.

“There is also a large amount of anti-social behaviour in Fr Burke Park with either underage drinking or drug dealing and drug taking,” Mr Heaslip said.

The concerns were communicated to Galway Business Watch, which held a meeting yesterday (Thursday) at Galway Chamber’s office to discuss retailers’ concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour. Galway Gardaí and Galway City Council representatives addressed the meeting.

Former mayor, Councillor Niall McNelis (Labour) said the experiences of both businesspeople was “startling”.

“I think it is startling that in the city centre you have examples of where policing is falling down,” said Cllr McNelis, a member of Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
This is a preview only. For full coverage and to read the Council statement in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Kids training next to heroin users ‘shooting up’

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Young people are training for a city rowing club while addicts are ‘shooting up’ heroin at all times of the day and night on a lane beside them without any fear from the authorities.

That was the claim made by Gerard Nally of Galway Rowing Club, who said his pleas for something to be done about the huge amounts of drugs paraphernalia left beside their boat shed at Waterside have been ignored.

There are very regularly between two and ten people using needles in an area located behind the ‘Plots’ in Woodquay between the old railway line, the rowing club boat shed and the Special Olympics Kayak Club and fronting onto Steamer’s Quay.

The ground is covered with drug paraphernalia such as syringes, empty vials of sterile water, disposable spoons (for ‘cooking up’ the drugs) and dozens of pocked-sized ‘sharps bins’, which are for the disposal of used syringes. The area is also littered with blackened squares of tin foil, which are used for smoking heroin.

“Kids are training in one room and guys shooting up next door,” Mr Nally exclaimed.

“We’ve been on and on to the [City Council] to clean this up and close it off and we’ve been onto councillors, but we don’t seem to be getting anyone to do anything about this. It’s been going on for years.”
This is a preview only. For full coverage and to read the Council statement in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lidl plans new supermarket in the Westside

Enda Cunningham

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An aerial view of the entire Arch Motors site, adjacent to Aldi. Under the plan, the former showroom would be demolished and a new Lidl built, while Monaghan's filling station would not be affected.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – German discount supermarket chain Lidl has drawn up plans for a €3 million store on the site of the former Arch Motors in the Westside.

The company has applied to Galway City Council for permission to demolish part of the empty Arch Motors premises and construct a new foodstore and off licence.

The Monaghan’s filling station and shop will remain in situ and are not affected by the plans.

According to Lidl, the new supermarket would create between 40 and 50 jobs in construction and up to 25 full-time jobs when operational.

The supermarket chain said the new premises will be in addition to its existing stores at Headford Road and Doughiska, and the planned store in Knocknacarra, which is currently a separate application before the City Council.

“The subject site is currently significantly underutilised despite its strategic location adjoining and functioning as part of the existing Westside District Centre. The applicant is seeking to secure the beneficial use of the site and its redevelopment will considerably enhance the appearance of the site and its contribution to the established commercial area at Westside,” the application reads.
This is a preview only. For full coverage and to read the Council statement in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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