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ConTempo bearing gifts from Greece in lunchtime concert



ConTempo will be performing From Greece with Love from Druid's Mick Lally Theatre and it will be available online from 1pm this Friday.

Greece is the destination this Friday as Galway’s ConTempo Quartet continues its lunchtime series, From Europe with Love, starting at 1pm.

This ambitious three-year project, coordinated by the Galway Music Residency, presents monthly lunchtime concerts exploring the string quartet repertoire from all 27 EU member countries.

All the From Europe with Love concerts are free and are performed by ConTempo. This week’s Greek offering will be available on Facebook and YouTube from 1pm this Friday and can also be watched back following the performance.

It will feature works by well-known Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis and Nikos Skalkotta. Much of the programme is made up of dances or music inspired by the Greek dance tradition, including the title track from Zorba the Greek, the 1964 film based on the novel of the same name.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Council official: Galway needs to identify site for new airport



A senior County Council official has said Galway needs to identify a site for a new airport – with a runway big enough to accommodate passenger jets from the likes of Ryanair.

At a meeting of the county’s local authority this week, Director of Services Liam Hanrahan said he would be willing to discuss the matter with his counterparts in the City Council – the local authorities jointly own the existing airport in Carnmore.

Department of Defence lands in Renmore were flagged at the meeting as being a potential site – the runway in Carnmore is not big enough to accommodate large passenger jets and is regarded by airlines as being unviable as a result.

The matter was discussed as county councillors gave their support for a portion of Carnmore airport to be leased to a film company.

The two councils were urged to make a concerted effort to identify a location for a new airport that can take jets and the lands owned by the Department of Defence in Renmore were mentioned.

Meanwhile, members of the County Council received assurances that there would be no threat to Galway Flying Club using the facility at Carnmore as they have been doing for many years.

There were suggestions that Danú Media, which has requested the use of two hangars at the airport, were anxious that the leasing arrangement with Galway Flying Club be terminated because of noise interference.

But Director of Services Liam Hanrahan categorically stated that Danú Media had applied for the lease of two hangars at the former airport but they were not in a position to dictate what happens the rest of the 115-acre site.

He also explained that when the two councils purchase the lands in 2014, they did so as an investment site and not as a commercial airport.

However, Mr Hanrahan was very supportive of the suggestion that an alternative location be identified for an airport that could accommodate passenger jets from the likes of Ryanair and it would be something that he would discuss with the City Council.

The use of the Galway Airport site, and particularly the hangars, has been described as an economic opportunity for the audio-visual, TV and film sectors in Galway.

While councillors supported the proposal to lease the two hangars and former airport fire station to Danú Media, the vast majority expressed disappointment that there was no overall masterplan for the whole site.

Earlier this month, Galway City Council members approved the leasing arrangement with the film-making company and County Council members this week felt that they were ‘an afterthought’ and their only function was to ‘rubber stamp’ the city’s decision.

Mr Hanrahan advised councillors that the City Council meet earlier in the month and assured members that there was nothing sinister.

Oranmore’s Cllr Liam Carroll said that if planning permission was granted to Danú Media, it would put Galway on the map in terms of film-making.

The airport lease agreement would generate more than €700,000 in rental income over a 20-year period.

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Concerns over reopening of Middle Arch on Tuesday



A Galway City Councillor has given a cautious welcome but has also raised concerns over the reopening of the ‘Middle Arch’ beside the Claddagh Basin next Tuesday.

Access was closed to the public last May following requests from the Gardai due to large crowds that had gathered in the days previously amid fears of it becoming a serious health and safety risk.

The concerns were raised by Cllr. Niall McNelis who said that a cautious welcome should be given but that the possibility of closing it in evenings needs to be seriously looked at.

He said “The decision to close it was earlier in year was due to it had become an area where large groups had gathered drinking and had led to calls by locals that it had become a serious health and safety risk. The area also does not have safety barriers and this has led to persons falling into the water in the past.

“Recently there has been a large number of calls made that the area should be reopened and that public space be made available to the public.”

Cllr. McNelis also said that a cautious welcome should be given but that the possibility of closing it in evenings needs to be seriously looked at.

“We can not have the same scenes repeated as we did earlier this year and in previous years. House gardens and Claddagh church grounds were used as toilets and large amounts of litter mainly drink, was left behind. I have met a number of residents this weekend who are not happy with decision and calls have been made by them to have it closed in evenings by City Council and Gardai should assist in clearing area if needs be.

“We do not have enough Garda personnel to have proper policing in our city, we need more resources for the city to tackle and enforce anti social behaviour.

“I have met this week with Gardai and have been given assurances that this will be closely monitored and occasions such as exam results nights, freshers week and good weather will be monitored,” he said.

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Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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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