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Connacht Tribune

Councillors divided over Western Rail Corridor proposals

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Fine Gael’s local reps across the county are split down the middle over the provision of a greenway along the old Western Rail Corridor.

At least seven councillors are against it and five are in favour, while their Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon wants them to come out in support of a feasibility study on such a prospect.

The provision of a greenway along the rail corridor between Athenry and Tuam has been both emotive and fractious and has divided political parties locally.

It has been hotly debated on social media with those on opposing sites of the argument often getting exercised over the matter.

Galway East TD Sean Canney, who is an advocate of the reopening of the rail service between Sligo and Athenry, last week slammed both Deputy Cannon and Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) whom he described as being hypocrites.

He made the case that both TDs are resisting a rail review at local level and are supporting it as part of the National Development Plan. He said that they were talking out of “both sides of their mouths”.

This week he said that he was sorry to hear that Fine Gael across the county was in disarray but assured party officials that it had nothing to do with him. “Maybe they should start looking closer to home”, he said.

A motion is to come before Galway County Council on Monday week asking that the local authority seek funding for a feasibility study to be carried out on the provision of a greenway along the Western Rail Corridor.

Seasoned Fine Gael councillors such as Jimmy McClearn, Peter Feeney, Eileen Mannion and Tom McHugh are vehemently opposed to this, as are colleagues such as Frank Kearney, Mogie Maher and Niamh Byrne.

The likes of General Election hopefuls Pete Roche and Aidan Donohoe are firmly behind the feasibility study as are other FG councillors such as Joe Byrne, Mike Finnerty and Peter Keaveney.

“At the moment, we are split down the middle,” a senior FG party source told The Connacht Tribune and laid the blame firmly at the door of Minister Ciaran Cannon. “His social media contributions are not helpful”.

But Minister Cannon insists that there is growing support for the so-called Quiet Man Greenway between Athenry and Tuam which would pass through Ballyglunin Railway Station.

And he has now organised a mass rally for Tuam on Sunday week in advance of the Council meeting that will vote on the feasibility study.

He says that social media support to the extent of 8,000 was a reflection that it is being supported by younger generations.

“If those who argue against the project take the time to peruse the page (facebook), they will see that in one post, there is a collage of the business community in Tuam who support the greenway.

“They will find that the collage comprises of almost 100 images. All of these people are taxpayers, all of these people are voters and all of these people are publically aligning themselves with the project.

“I also find it difficult, therefore, to believe that public representatives can ignore such a movement and that is only in Tuam,” Minister Cannon said.

However, local councillors are firmly divided over the issue and will be voting on the motion according to their individual views.

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

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

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

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

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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.

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