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Coastguard no longer able to refuel in Galway

Denise McNamara

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Last ditch talks are being held with the former operator of Galway Airport, which turned away the Coastguard and now offers no refuelling facility for rescue aircraft since a lease expired in December.

City Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab) said several planes were turned away, they were not allowed to refuel and the Coastguard was refused permission to land.

He was speaking at a meeting of Galway City Council in City Hall.

Cllr Padraig Conneely (FG) said the lease was allowed to expire, even though Galway City and County Councils – joint owners since the commercial airlines had pulled out following the withdrawal of State subsidies – had passed motions calling on both bodies to extend the lease arrangements with Carnmore Aviation for a minimum of 11 months.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council Brendan McGrath said he had held discussions with Carnmore Aviation Ltd on December 21 and had afterwards received correspondence from the company.

“The discussions have the capacity to go either way but they are ongoing,” he informed councillors at the meeting.

When the lease expired on December 15, the aviation licence also came to an end, which had allowed for the sale of fuel.

Mr McGrath said he wanted to remind councillors that the facility had only operated with large Government grants.

At a previous meeting, Chief Executive of Galway County Council Kevin Kelly said it was costing both councils about €115,000 to have a private company operating the facility. At the expiration of the lease, the councils indicated a willingness to enter a new agreement for 11 months but on the basis the local authorities would break even.

It was confirmed this week that security alone was running up a bill of €2,000 – that would be downgraded to CCTV monitoring with some onsite visits.

Carnmore Aviation Ltd had an Irish Aviation Authority Licence to operate an aerodrome and an IAA licence to dispense fuel to the Coastguard, Air Corps and private jets, which mainly ferried executives from the multinationals based in Galway.

A feasibility study commissioned by the councils recommended turning the site into a film studio, sports/leisure facility and a renewable energy

Currently, Galway Flying Club are operating from the airport, paying €10,900 for a year-long lease.

Cllr McNelis asked that the runway be maintained as “it was important to not let it go.”

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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