Consultants will this week begin examining the future possible uses of Galway Airport.
The owners of the Carnmore facility, Galway’s two local authorities, have appointed Future Analytics Limited to carry out a feasibility study on its future use.
The consultants were appointed before Christmas, and, following a meeting with Galway City Council and Galway County Council, are due to ‘hit the ground running’ compiling a report on its future usage.
It is understood nine tenders were received to carry out the report, and the winner was Future Analytics Limited, a Dublin based firm that specialises in spatial planning.
A budget of €18,000 has been set aside for the study, which is due back in the coming months.
A City Council spokesperson confirmed that the tender had been awarded. He said that no decision on the future of the 115 acres Galway Airport site will be made by the local authorities until the contents of the report is considered. He said elected members would be fully briefed once the report is published.
The airport will continue to be operated by Carnmore Aviation Ltd, a subsidiary of the Weston private airport near Dublin, until next summer when their 11-month lease on the property expires. Since Carnmore Aviation Ltd took over the Carnmore facility last June, it has continued to operate as an airport, accommodating private flights, the local flying club as well as facilitating the Irish Coast Guard and the Air Corps.
Ballinasloe-based civil engineering firm, Conneely Engineering, own the Weston facility – the company’s MD, Brian Conneely, is an Abbeyknockmoy native. Both councils paid a total of €1.1m for the airport site, taking on the project in the context of the site being a valuable public asset for the city and county.
At the time of the purchase, the city and county managers stressed that they were buying the site because of its location and potential economic and strategic importance to Galway and the west of Ireland.
“The purchase of the site was a strategic decision, given its size and location close to the M6 and on the fringe of Galway city. We would expect though that after receiving the report of the consultants early next year, a decision will be made shortly after on the medium to long term usage of the site,” said the City Council spokesman.
The joint owners of the facility, in their invitation to tender, said they wanted a feasibility study carried out in order to, “identify potential opportunities for this site within the context of the economic circumstances of the region”.
In its tender, the Councils said they acquired the site, “to ensure that the maximum economic potential of this large tract of land is realised”.
They pointed out that it is a strategic site, adjacent to the M6 motorway and future M17/M18 motorway, Galway City, Galway Bay, the railway network, IDA strategic sites at Oranmore and Athenry, the gas and electricity national distribution network and Parkmore Enterprise Park.
Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run
A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.
He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.
The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.
The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.
Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda
Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.
He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.
Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.
In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.
There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.
The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.
Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.
Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.
Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.
In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.
He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.
Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway
Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.
That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.
Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.
“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.