Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Councillors’ anger over social housing in private estate



County councillors vented their anger at a meeting this week over the local authority’s purchase of 14 houses in a private estate in Athenry for use as social housing – which neighbours claim will knock a total of €1.5 million off the value of their homes.

A clear message was delivered from Council officials – they cannot and will not engage in public consultations when buying private houses for use as social housing because they are commercial transactions requiring confidentiality.

The Council also rejected the claim that it was competing with first-time buyers for properties, stating that it queries whether offers have been made on properties by such potential buyers. The local authority said it will “withdraw” in such cases.

Councillor Jim Cuddy told the Council executive that the manner in which the 14 houses in the Lorro Gate development in Athenry were purchased was “underhand” and they should have been placed on the open market.

The matter was raised by Tuam area councillor Shaun Cunniffe said people had voiced concerns to him about the deal, including one lady who intended to purchase there, but had now decided not to.

He said that people were coming to him when a house in their estate came up for sale saying: “Please tell me the Council aren’t going to buy it.”

Cllr Cunniffe said that when a bad tenant goes into an area, there is nothing anybody can do about it.

Cllr Michael Connolly said that one of the things the Council executive is obliged to do when selling or disposing of a property is to engage with elected representatives, but there was no requirement when buying a property.

“There is a very genuine concern that properties are being devalued, and homeowners will be in negative equity as a result,” said Cllr Connolly.

Cllr Martina Kinnane said she was inundated with queries over the previous few days because of rumours that the Council is buying land for social housing in Oranmore.

“As a local councillor, I couldn’t answer them. They think I’m just not telling them. Everyone has a right to be house, but people have a right to have information,” she said.

Director of Services for Housing, Michael Owens, said the houses in Athenry were for sale as a single lot, and the local authority was therefore not competing with first-time buyers.

He said that in that instance, the only bodies which could have purchased the homes were the Council, an approved housing body with the Council’s backing or an institutional investor.

Mr Owens said housing acquisition is an executive function, and he could not engage in public commentary or debate on a purchase deal because it is a commercial transaction and he must respect requirements in terms of confidentiality.

He explained that he did not attend a meeting organised by local residents on Good Friday but outlined the Council’s position in a letter. He said locals had chosen to have legal representation, so any representation from the Council would now be through them.

Mr Owens said that other opportunities have arisen for multiple units to be purchased in single lots, and where appropriate and if the price represented value for money, the Council engaged.

“We acknowledge there are issues with antisocial behaviour. Of our 2,500 tenants, there’s a very small minority,” said Mr Owens, adding that the local authority has taken action in the past and had a number of successful outcomes in court; a number of cases are under appeal and a number are before the courts.

“It is important to note it is a very small minority of tenants [causing problems],” Mr Owens said.

Cllr Gabe Cronnelly said the houses in Lorro Gate should be allocated under an affordable housing scheme but was told there is no such scheme at the moment.

He said that when homes already allocated as social housing in the development (under Part V planning requirements from developers), 45% of the houses in the estate would be social.

“What is going on in Athenry in totally and utterly unforgivable. Why were the houses not put on the open market? First-time buyers could have gone in and bought them at the same price the Council was buying them at. This is totally underhand what’s going on here.

“Local people were prevented from buying individual houses here. They were sold en bloc. This is totally unacceptable. People who bought their houses in what was supposed to be a private housing estate have had auctioneers value them and have been told in no uncertain terms that if social housing goes ahead at the rate proposed, their houses will be devalued up to €100,000.

“This is going to put people in negative equity at a time when we’re trying to help people struggling with houses. People are genuinely fearful.

“We have a big problem. The vast majority of people in social housing are very decent people. But you will have the odd one. There is a fear factor among people that if they get an unwelcome neighbour coming into the area, they’re going to have a big problem. Their houses will devalue overnight,” said Cllr Cuddy.

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k



Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

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.


Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes



Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base



Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads