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CITY TRIBUNE

Conneely bares teeth at ‘vicious’ cyclists

Dara Bradley

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In another case of the pot calling the kettle black, Galway City Councillor Pádraig Conneely has labelled cyclists as “vicious”.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

The former city mayor has a reputation among political rivals as having a bite that matches his bark, if necessary. He certainly doesn’t spare his foes.

And Pádraig showed teeth again at the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) when he attacked the behaviour of some cyclists.

The Fine Gaeler recalled an incident where he was driving his Passat along Market Street, and encountered a cyclist coming towards him, the ‘wrong’ way down a one-way street.

He rolled down the window to remind the biker that cycling contra-flow was a no-no. And what did he get for his troubles?

The cyclist “threw a kick at my car and told me to ‘F-off!”

For good measure, after his boot connected with the tyre, the cyclist told the elected member to “go ‘F’ myself!’.”

This led Pádraig to declare of cyclists: “They’re quite vicious”.

The sentiment of the cyclist towards Cllr Conneely may be unrelated to his penchant for two-wheeled vehicles – after all, there are quite a lot of non-cyclists who might like to tell Pádraig to ‘F-off’ while kicking his car.

But at least he’s consistent: back in 2014, Pádraig described some city cyclists as “cowboys”. “They cycle on footpaths, crash traffic lights, cycle the wrong way on one-way streets and are a danger to pedestrians and cars. And if you stop to say anything to them about their behaviour, they abuse you using foul and filthy language,” he said at the time.

Was this the second time Pádraig was verbally abused by a biker, or is he still traumatised, five years later, from the same tongue-lashing?

It took Joe Loughnane – of all people – to bring some balance to the debate at the JPC.

Councillors, he said, should be encouraging more cycling to tackle the city’s chronic traffic congestion by introducing more cycle lanes, and “not just bashing cyclists”.

It was, perhaps, just a coincidence, but Joe made his comments while Pádraig was out of the chamber . . . probably for the best to avoid bringing out his cross streak!
This is a preview only. For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

CITY TRIBUNE

€3bn plan for new hospitals at Merlin Park

Denise McNamara

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How the 200-bed elective hospital may 'fit' into the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A 1,150-bed acute hospital and a separate 200-bed elective hospital at Merlin Park – costing in the region of €3 billion and taking up to 15 years to deliver – are included in a new report on health infrastructure needs for Galway.

A review of hospital requirements has produced ambitious proposals for the elective hospital – costing around €1.2bn and taking a decade to build – and acute hospital to replace UHG which would take 15 years to deliver.

The so-called ‘options appraisal’ conducted on behalf of the Saolta University Health Care Group concluded that separating acute and planned services – through the development of a purpose-built elective facility – will greatly improve efficiency and patient access by reducing waiting times and cancellations.

It will allow the Saolta Hospital Group to significantly increase the level of day surgery and reduce length of stay for patients.

Currently there are 46,000 people on a waiting list between the two hospitals with a further 14,000 patients travelling to Dublin from the Saolta region every year for treatment.

“The demand capacity gap will grow to a shortfall of 276 beds at Galway University Hospitals [UHG and Merlin combined] alone. Do nothing is not an option,” consultants KPMG wrote.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, 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

Minister gives go-ahead to army accommodation plan

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The USAC complex in Renmore, which is set to be redeveloped.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A 50-year-old building at Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa in Renmore is to be renovated to provide additional accommodation for members of the Defence Forces, the Minister for Defence has confirmed.

Minister Paul Kehoe (FG) told the Dáil that the former University Students Administrative Complement (USAC) complex would be redesigned to accommodate 120 persons living in single rooms.

“The rooms are fitted out to a basic standard and ablution facilities are provided communally. The building is nearly 50 years old and does not meet current standards with respect to building constriction methodology, fire prevention measures and energy efficiency,” said Minister Kehoe.

While currently in its early design stages, it is expected that construction work would commence late next year, he added.

USAC is a purpose-built facility constructed in the 1970s to accommodate Officers of the Defence Forces undertaking courses at third level institutes in Galway.

While located adjacent to the barracks in Renmore, it is outside the confines of the barracks and is self-contained with its own access and parking.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, 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

Taskforce gets down to work in Ballybane

Enda Cunningham

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Aoife Tully having fun in Ballybane Playground.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Ballybane Task Force is on a mission.

Since the cooperative made up of all major stakeholders set up two years ago, they have set themselves the goal of highlighting the positive work in train in the eastern suburb while providing support for community, voluntary and residents’ groups that currently operate.

They also want to encourage the participation of all locals – new and long-term – in activities while giving support to developing projects and initiatives.

Already the Task Force has spearheaded some tangible results. Last week, a homework club for secondary school students opened and an afterschool service for primary students will begin in January following the recruitment of staff.

There was further good news earlier this year with the redevelopment of the derelict Ballybane Neighbourhood Centre. It is set to be transformed into a revitalised enterprise centre, scheduled to be open in January.

One of the first tasks the group pursued was to identify gaps in resources and services across Ballybane and lay out a blueprint for action.

They secured funding to appoint a consultant to review this in depth and make recommendations.

The results of that needs analysis have just been published. Its overview of the area’s deprivation makes for stark reading.

Ballybane is described as the area where the older housing estates are bordered by Ballybane Road, Monivea Road and the Dublin Road, but excluding the Doughiska development.

It has a male unemployment rate of 25% or over – compared to a 15% average in the city – a lone parent rate of 35% or higher (24% in the city) and a 35% rate of children leaving school in the early years of secondary school (17%). Just one fifth go onto third level, compared to half elsewhere in the city.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this feature on the regeneration of ballybane, 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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