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Council urged to get tough with Fáilte Ireland over site

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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

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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