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Councillor takes on clampers over ‘money-making exercise’

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A city councillor has claimed a private clamping firm is raking in up to €600 per night in Knocknacarra.

Labour’s Niall McNelis said clamping is a “money-making exercise”, and does not address the problem of illegal parking.

He has now asked the Council’s Planning and Roads departments to look at the situation in relation to warning signage that clamping is in operation.

Cllr McNelis said the clamping hotspots are at the Docks, Long Walk, Clybaun Road in Knocknacarra, outside the derelict Sacre Coeur Hotel and now on the grounds of Claddagh church.

He said motorists parking at night outside the shops on Clybaun Road – or the medical clinic on the opposite side of the road – are being clamped while visiting the local pub.

“The signage is poor, there is no history of clamping in the past, and suddenly €600 a night is being generated for one firm in Knocknacarra, ruining many a good night out for those that did not know.

“In Knocknacarra, Salthill and the Claddagh, clamping has become a money-making exercise and does not sort an illegal parking problem.

“There are three separate companies operating on the Docks … imagine being a visitor!

“During the stormy weather, a woman parked in the grounds of Claddagh church, but her ticket blew off the dashboard. She came back and she was clamped.

“Galway City Council got rid of on-street clamping and has no hand or act in doing this in the city and outskirts,” said Cllr McNelis.

He said progress has been made at a national level, after the Vehicle Clamping Bill came before the Dáil last month, which aims to regulate the practice.

“The public have concerns in regard to the activity of some clamping operators, and the extent to which clamping may be carried out in a less than fair manner, with no obvious consistent or transparent recourse to appeal against perceived abuses.

“The areas of greatest public concern relate to the level and variation in clamp release charges currently applied, the lack of a clearly identifiable and accessible clamping appeals process, and the oftentimes absence of appropriate information signage for motorists.

“The end result of this discussion was that the National Transport Authority (NTA) should be designated as regulator of clamping activities and that there should be a maximum permissible clamp release charges on private lands.

“As well as that, it was agreed that there should be a two-tier appeals process and an obligation to provide clear and prominent signage in areas where clamping is operated,” said Cllr McNelis.

CITY TRIBUNE

Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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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