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Connemara Greenway grant a boost for tourism

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The Connemara Greenway this week received a major cash injection of just under €900,000 as one of two key Wild Atlantic Way projects identified for development by Fáilte Ireland.

The grant of €896,000 to Galway County Council will fund a new section of the route from Cloonbeg to Athry, running adjacent to Ballynahinch Castle, with an estimated completion date of next May.

The development is part of a wider plan for the Clifden to Oughterard Greenway that will link up with the planned Greenway from Galway city to Oughterard.

And that will ultimately result in a 78km Galway to Clifden Greenway offering a cycling experience of scale with international appeal for cycling enthusiasts.

A grant of €225,000 was also allocated to the OPW towards the development of new visitor facilities on the Great Blasket Island.

But the Connemara Greenway grant comes as a boost for the tourism sector in a week when local hoteliers admitted they feared the impact of Brexit on the local market.

Irish Hotels Federation Galway Branch chairman Shay Livingstone said that the concerns come at a time when many hotels and guesthouses were ‘still in recovery mode’.

The hotelier pointed out that tourism supported 15,000 jobs in Galway and contributes €506m to the local economy each year – but cautioned that continued recovery cannot be taken for granted.

“This (Brexit) comes at a time when the increasing cost of doing business in Ireland already poses a serious challenge for tourism businesses.

“While it is too early to predict the full effect that the decision will have on Galway tourism, there can be no room for complacency, particularly given the potential impact on visitor numbers from the UK and business levels within the domestic market,” he said.

Central Statistics Office figures showed an increase of 13.7% of overseas visits to Ireland during the first five months of 2016 compared to the same time last year.

And while it is too early to gauge regional statistics for 2016, last year saw the west welcome just over 1.4 million overseas tourists. The total tourism revenue stood at €7.3 billion for 2015.

Connacht Tribune

Galway SVP launches annual appeal as national calls reach record levels

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Mayor of Galway, Cllr Colette Connolly, launching the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Annual Christmas Appeal at Ozanam House, St. Augustine Street, pictured with (from left) Frank Leonard, SVP Area President, Galway City East, Seamus McManus, Area President, Galway City West and Deirdre Swords, SVP Regional Administrator, West Region. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul members made around 18,000 visits to homes in the Galway area last year – spending over €1m per year on direct assistance in the area.

And the charity, which helps with a myriad of practical, emotional and psychological problems, has only seen demand for its service grow under Covid.

That’s according to the Presidents of both Galway branches, as the organisation launched its Annual Appeal this week – predicting that, nationally, calls for help will be at their highest level in its history and could reach almost 200,000 by the end of December.

“We are seeing a lot of people getting in touch who have never needed to before, people whose circumstances have changed due to Covid,” said SVP Galway City East President Frank Leonard. “

We in the SVP have adapted to the new way of doing things and ensuring we are getting to people who need help.”

“The bulk of this goes to helping families with food, energy and education costs. Our volunteers are also involved in Education and Youth Initiatives and work directly with the elderly across Galway City,” he added.

SVP Galway City West President Seamus McManus said that they depend entirely on donations from the public and corporate donors – but, he said, thankfully the generosity of the people of Galway to SVP over the years has been outstanding.

“We hope that the response to this year’s Annual Appeal is as equally generous. The money raised in Galway is used locally and this Annual Appeal will support SVP’s work between now and year end and well into 2022,” he added.

National President Rose McGowan said the fact that the Society has received more calls for help nationally than at any other time in its history – and still managed to provide help – was testimony to the dedication of its volunteers and staff and the incredible support of the Irish public.

“We are facing a perfect storm for families contending with a cost-of-living crisis on multiple fronts. Energy prices are soaring, we are seeing rents rise well beyond what people can afford and increasing transport costs are also putting pressure on low-income households,” she said.

“We are deeply concerned that during the coming months this crisis will come to a head as households are unable to find extra room in the budget for escalating energy costs.

“In those circumstances they will inevitably turn to SVP for help. Need is the only criteria we apply when people seek our help. But to provide that help we need the generous support of the Irish public that we are seeking through this 2021 Annual Appeal.

“We are appealing for donations to be made locally, online or over the phone that will help people through this winter and into the new year,” she added.

The public can help by donating online to www.svp.ie and nominate ‘Galway’, or by phoning 0818 176 176 and again nominating ‘Galway’.

You can also do this by post to SVP, West Region, Ozanam House, St Augustine’s St, Galway, with cheques made payable to Society of St. Vincent de Paul Galway Area – or keep an eye out for special blue envelopes that will be in newspapers, churches and delivered to homes throughout the country.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Top award for political heavyweight with Galway roots

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President & CEO of The Ireland Funds Caitriona Fottrell with Martin J. Walsh, US Secretary of Labor, at The Ireland Funds Gala.

The son of Galway parents who went on to become Mayor of Boston before moving to Washington to become President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Labour was honoured for his achievements in his native city last week.

Close to 500 guests gathered for the Ireland Funds 40th Annual Boston Gala, where Martin J. Walsh, 29th Secretary of Labor of the United States of America, was presented with The Ireland Funds 2021 Distinguished Leadership Award.

Martin Walsh’s parents were originally from Galway; his father emigrated to the US in 1956 and mother in 1959, before they met in Boston and married there.

The Ireland Funds is a global philanthropic network. Established in 1976, its mission is to harness the power of a global network of friends of Ireland to promote and support peace, culture, education, and community development throughout the island of Ireland, and among Irish communities around the world.

The Boston Gala is one of the largest of The Ireland Funds’ international events and over $1.3 million was raised during the night to support outstanding charitable causes within across the island of Ireland and in the Boston community.

Returning to the city of Boston where he was Mayor for seven years, Martin J. Walsh spoke of his family’s immigration to the US from Galway and the importance of welcoming immigrants of all backgrounds seeking new opportunities, as his family once did, and of paying that opportunity forward.

He thanked those gathered for their generosity to the Ireland Funds and its vital work across Ireland as well as for the City of Boston.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Salthill will NOT have one-way traffic under new cycleway plans

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Salthill will not be reduced to one-way traffic under plans for the new cycleway along the Promenade, following the intervention of the National Transport Authority in the controversy.

It was confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that a design is now being considered to “ensure the widest support possible”.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – which recently created cycleways in Dublin – will now be involved in the design process.

Last September, city councillors voted in favour of creating a two-way segregated cycle lane along the coastal side of the Prom from Grattan Road to Blackrock as a six-month trial.

However, it subsequently emerged that this would involve introducing one-way traffic along the Prom, with the outbound lane closed to make way for bicycles – this information has not been presented to councillors as they decided to vote on the cycle lane without any prior discussion.

Galway West TD and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, subsequently asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to intervene in the row.

“As a result of a meeting held last week between the NTA and the City Council, I can confirm that both parties are working to review proposals that will meet the objectives of the [City Council] motion while also looking to retain two-way traffic,” she said.

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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