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Councillors back homes for Irish speakers proposal

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Housing specifically designated for Irish speakers could become a reality after city councillors agreed to include the provision in the draft City Development Plan.

At a local authority meeting, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath advised Cllr Cathal Ó Conchúir that his proposal was “fraught with practical issues”.

However, he felt that a tweak of the wording should make it more acceptable.

The 15 councillors present for the vote unanimously agreed that the proposal should be included in the draft plan: “To seek to designate a Gaeltacht-language planning area”.

Cllr Ó Conchúir told fellow members that in the Gaeltacht Act, local authorities were encouraged to assign housing for use by Irish speakers.

He said that such a plan was being proposed in Clondalkin, which could potentially involve 15 houses in an exclusive estate.

“People who want to raise their children through Irish will be given first priority,” he added.

Cllr Donal Lyons said that while he was not against the proposal, he questioned whether or not it was feasible.

Cllr Peter Keane was in favour of the idea, and said that something similar was included in the County Development Plan.

“It would strengthen the language in urban areas,” he said.

Cllr Pearce Flannery suggested that legal opinion should be sought, as the plan – as presented – could be challenged.

Similarly, Cllr Padraig Conneely thought there could be a human rights issue under EU law, if a Polish national, for example, challenged his/her right to one of these houses.

Cllr Terry O’Flaherty said it was a great concept, but questioned how it could be monitored.

She also pointed out that as a candidate who canvassed in Tirellan – which is one of three Gaeltacht areas in the city, along with parts of Menlo and Knocknacarra – residents were largely unaware that they were living in a Gaeltacht area.

Mayor of Galway, Cllr Frank Fahy, gave the proposal his full support.

“Within the city there are parts of it in the Gaeltacht – and we do speak the language,” he said.

“My daughter was reared in Ballybane, but is now a teacher in a gaelscoil.”

Mr McGrath said that Cllr Ó Conchúir’s concept was “laudable” but he advised a degree of caution.

“Implementing it would be fraught with practical issues, so if you wish to proceed I would use the words ‘To seek’ (to designate land), and then let it go to public display.”

The wording of the proposal was amended, and was unanimously accepted. Members of the public will be given a chance to voice their opinions on the wording of the draft plan, before it is brought back to the Council members to vote.

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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