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Connacht Tribune

Consultants to get €1m for traffic solutions

Declan Tierney

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More than one million euro has been set aside to pay for consultants who have been engaged to devise controversial traffic calming measures for two County Galway villages which are among the country’s most notorious blackspots.

It has been revealed that a staggering €1.14 million is earmarked to pay for consultancy fees for traffic calming plans for both Claregalway and Clarinbridge – measures that could have a negative economic impact for both villages.

Meetings have already taken place in Clarinbridge with many of those in attendance voicing their opposition to the plan as it would have the effect of removing 12 car parking spaces in the village and result in passing traffic not stopping to do business.

Now, it has been alleged that the €1 million-plus has been earmarked for consultancy fees without “a single sod” being turned on either project. It has been described as a disgraceful waste of money.

The figures have been disclosed by barrister and councillor James Charity following repeated queries to senior Council officials. Cllr Charity opposed the budget for the Athenry-Oranmore Municipal Council area – as did two of his colleagues – but it was passed on the casting vote of the Cathaoirleach.

At that meeting, it was agreed to provide €100,000 to both traffic calming schemes. This is in addition to €540,000 that was allocated in 2015 and a further €500,000 in 2016.

According to Cllr Charity, the total allocation set aside for the traffic calming schemes over the past three years now stands at €1.14 million – having received the backing of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors on the authority.

“It is simply beyond belief that more money is being allocated for consultancy fees on these projects, despite the fact that not as much as a sod of turf has been turned in either location.

“We are talking about enormous sums of money here, potentially as much as €1,140,000 million, all of which is going to consultants without any benefit being seen on the ground, which is little short of a scandal.

“This is coming at a time when the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael dominated coalition on the Council voted through an increase of 10% in Local Property Tax, which would effectively equate to the amount being approved under these schemes for consultants.

“To make matters even worse, there has been strong local opposition to the plans prepared by consultants for the Clarinbridge proposal to date, with the community there raising serious issues about the potential loss of parking in the village and the impact this will have on local businesses and schools.

“As a result, it means the current plans prepared by consultants, at huge expense to Galway taxpayers, may never be followed through or, at the very least, will not be advanced in their current form.

“I am also at a loss as to why more money is being proposed for consultants on the Clarinbridge scheme, given that they have already produced their substantive plan for the area, and additional vast sums for any amendments, if that is what this sum envisages, really calls into question the procurement policy being adopted by the Council and the terms of any contracts that were entered into”, Cllr Charity said.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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