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Connacht Tribune

Councillors demand answers over future of Duggan Park



GAA officials in both Galway and Croke Park are to be contacted to determine the future of Duggan Park in Ballinasloe – a venue that used to host top club and county games.

Members of Ballinasloe Municipal Council expressed outrage over the fact that it was being left in a dilapidated state with no commitment towards its upgrade and especially given its central location.

And councillors again labelled Pearse Stadium as “a nightmare” of a venue with one member saying that it was a ground that very few wanted developed and should be sold for housing with the revenue from this put into developing both Tuam Stadium and Duggan Park.

Duggan Park is the only GAA ground in Galway that has floodlighting but it is not in a position to hold a national football or hurling league match because of the fact that works commenced at the venue a number of years back and were never completed.

Mayor of Ballinasloe Cllr Aidan Donohue raised the matter at this month’s meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council and expressed frustration that nothing was being done to upgrade the ground.

He said that state-of-the-art lighting was installed and works commenced on the ground with most of the terracing being removed – then works ground to a halt.

“We have one of the most centrally located venues in the country with a surface that many counties would die for but it desperately needs renovation in a bad way. As it stands, it cannot accommodate inter-county matches,” Cllr Donohue explained.

There had been plans to develop the ground and most of the terraced areas were dug up but then works came to a complete standstill.

A number of years ago floodlighting was provided at Duggan Park at a cost of around €350,000 but the ground itself was not further developed as promised at the time.

It was envisaged that a new stand would be provided – the existing stand can cater for just 2,000 spectators – and that new terracing would be provided. But works at the venue just ground to a halt.

Duggan Park is generally recognised as having one of the best surfaces in the country and would make an ideal venue for home National Football League matches – but the lack of capacity is militating against this.

Cllr Donohue, a former Sarsfields hurler, said that a redevelopment programme for the ground was announced three years ago but to his knowledge, no application for funding had been lodged.

He now wants the Chief Executive of Galway GAA John Hynes and County Chairman Pat Kearney from Kilbeacanty to explain why works at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe have ground to a halt.

Cllr Michael Connolly said that both Tuam and Ballinasloe grounds needed to be developed as a matter of urgency. “It is a nightmare trying to get to Pearse Stadium in Salthill and nobody likes going there,” he said.

The Fianna Fail councillor said that GAA fans who attended this year’s Mayo match in Pearse Stadium spent hours in their cars trying to get home. He supported the call for investment in both Tuam and Ballinasloe.

Cllr Connolly said that most of the important matches in Pearse Stadium take place during the summer months when there are thousands of visitors in Salthill.

“Bringing 20,000 or 30,000 spectators to this venue at that time of the year is absolute madness when there are alternatives out there. We have neglected these two top venues in Tuam and Ballinasloe for far too long,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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