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Council urged to get tough with Fáilte Ireland over site



A city councillor has warned that a legal crux could ‘have serious consequences’ for a new proposed tourist attraction in Salthill.

Now, Cllr Donal Lyons has urged City Hall to get tough with Fáilte Ireland to expedite the return of prime site along the Promenade to Galway City Council.

He has urged them to cancel the lease on the Tourist Office in Salthill to Fáilte Ireland so the location can be used by the proposed new attraction.

The Tourist Office has not been operated in recent years.

Councillor Lyons this week outlined his disappointed and frustration with the lack of progress and the content of the reply he received from Galway City Council on the return of the Salthill Tourist Office site to the ownership of Galway City Council.

He pointed out that it was three years since he requested, by way of a motion, that the City Manager arrange an urgent meeting with senior officials at Fáilte Ireland, seeking the immediate staffing of the Salthill Tourist Office for future holiday seasons.

He said the land was leased (for a nominal fee to the then Ireland West Tourism) to promote tourism in Salthill and should Failte Ireland not accede or agree to this staffing request, that Galway City Council should immediately cancel the land lease agreement, as the lease was not being honoured, and arrange for the immediate transfer of the land back to the ownership of Galway City Council.

“This motion was agreed by the members of the then Galway City Council at its meeting on the May 14, 2012. I put forward the motion because Fáilte Ireland was not honouring the terms of the lease to use the site in the summer months as a Tourist Office facility.

“I became aware that there was the possibility of an additional tourist attraction being located on the site which would add significantly to the existing tourist attractions in Salthill, but in order to progress this attraction, the site would have to revert to local authority ownership.

“Expressions of interest for the site were then sought by Galway City Council from interested parties for tourist related activities. I continued to make verbal representations requesting progress on the return of the site.”

In September last, Cllr Lyons submitted a motion requesting that Galway City Council explain why three years after the adoption of the Notice of Motion the Salthill Tourist Office continued to remain vacant.

He also asked what action Galway City Council had undertaken to cancel the land lease agreement .

Cllr Lyons revealed that last week he received a reply to his motion that said: “Fáilte Ireland engaged with the City Council regarding proposals for another tourist-related use for the site, and a call for expressions of interest yielded a proposal which we felt had considerable merit and could be recommended to the Council.

“However, despite considerable efforts on the part of the Council, agreement from Failte Ireland has not been forthcoming, and the Council has commenced the process of recovering full ownership and possession of the site.”

Cllr Lyons said he was now urging Galway City Council to expedite the legal proceedings in order to facilitate the transfer of the site to the council without further delay.

“I very much regret that there is a strong possibility that the delay in transferring the ownership of the site back to Galway City Council could have serious consequences for the proposed tourist attraction being located on the site.”

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors



Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre



An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis



Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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