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CITY TRIBUNE

Bradley Bytes: Council’s doublespeak over Shantalla helipad

Dara Bradley

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Helicopter landing pads at hospitals are life-saving infrastructure. They are vital. Without them, more people die.

University Hospital Galway needs a helicopter landing pad. Of that there is no doubt. Everybody agrees that UHG needs to facilitate helicopter landings.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

It seems odd that that even has to be stated. But in the past, people who have complained about the shocking manner in which the Health Service Executive, with the tacit compliance of Galway City Council, has overstayed its welcome at the ‘temporary’ helicopter landing pad at community land at Shantalla, has been attacked for being anti-Coast Guard or against life-saving.

That, of course, is bunkum; but the HSE and Council are quite happy that such an impression is formed. They want to paint opponents of the cynical land-grab at Shantalla as the bad guys, who would much prefer to uphold planning laws than to save people’s lives through helicopter landings at an illegal landing pad.

But step back for a moment, from the emotions of what the HSE, with the acquiescence of the Council, is using the land in Shantalla for. And look at the facts of the situation.

What we know is that the HSE was given the community land in November 2013, for six months. The ‘temporary’ landing facility is still there today. We also know that the HSE has a second helipad inside on land that was not siphoned-off from locals.

City Hall, instead of insisting on enforcing planning laws, has decided to do a grubby little deal with the HSE: ‘You can keep your helipad, lads, if we can build a bus corridor through the hospital grounds’ is the gist of the local authority’s position.

Nothing that the Council leverages out of the HSE now, can disguise that it has singularly failed the people of Shantalla, who in good faith supported the transfer of land for use as a helipad five years ago, on condition it was temporary.

Consider, for a moment, that the land in question was illegally occupied, not by the HSE for use as a helipad, but, for example, by a group of Travellers to live on.

Before you could say the words ‘caravan cavalcade’, City Hall would have applied for a court injunction to move them on.

No such haste in seeking an injunction against the HSE. This, despite the HSE having plenty of land (legally) in its possession, including surface car parking space within the Newcastle campus, to facilitate a helicopter pad.

 *For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Time City Hall treats public with the respect it deserves

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The Transport Department at City Hall has developed a rather cavalier attitude to the public it is supposed to serve.

And it’s not just over residential parking permits, although that whole episode – which is not over yet – is indicative of a disconnect between officials and the public, and with public representatives.

That city councillors felt the need to call a special meeting and bring a Section 140 motion compelling the Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, to end the practice of refusing parking permits on the basis that people have driveways, says it all.

Section 140s are rarely used ‘nuclear’ options for elected members when they feel other efforts at solving issues are being frustrated.

The bould Brendan may be proved right in his assertion the motion was “invalid”, but to paraphrase Cllr Mike Crowe (FF), how did management let it come to this, by ignoring advice and the will of elected members?

The cavalier attitude is also evident in relation to legitimate questions. This newspaper asked recently whether the Council’s new bicycle parking infrastructure needed planning before being installed. A “stupid” question, apparently, according to a Council spokesperson. (For the record, no, they don’t require planning permission).

There was no certainty given either as to why certain locations for the bike infrastructure was chosen.

Bike racks are great and welcome and we need more, but are they part of a thought-through plan to encourage people out of their cars, or is the Council just plonking them anywhere there’s a bit of space, to placate the cycling lobby, as they plough on with the city’s bypass?

Here’s another example of the Transport Department treating the public with, to put it mildly, not a lot of respect.

It appears to be unofficial policy for some time now, that the Council no longer flags in advance roadworks, or road closures. There was a time when the travelling public was kept informed of any potential delays and disruption, but, alas, no more. Road works commenced at Upper Dominick Street on Monday, where there were lane closures at night to facilitate Gas Networks Ireland. The Council had to be prompted into confirming that letter drops took place to some businesses and residents last Friday – but the general public who use that street to traverse town, wasn’t informed.

Ditto at Headford Road inbound, where there were lanes closures and a closed bus lane at night to facilitate gas works. The closures had the potential to be quite dangerous for motorists approaching who are unaware of them.

This area “is non-residential”, the Council said, and so there were no leaflet drops but “Dunnes’ in Terryland were informed about the works”.

Asked why the public was kept in the dark, the Council said: “Lane closures are generally not advertised unless the works have the potential to cause significant disruption.”

Manners costs nothing, and neither does an advance press release to newspapers, or a social media posting, about impending traffic disruption, no matter how minor.

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

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CITY TRIBUNE

Probes into patient’s death following ‘assault’ at UHG

Dara Bradley

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Galway City Tribune – Three separate investigations are underway into the circumstances surrounding the death of a pensioner at University Hospital Galway some days after she broke her hip in an alleged assault by an ‘aggressive’ patient in the Emergency Department.

It is understood authorities at the hospital and Gardaí have launched separate investigations into the death of the 74-year-old woman, who endured an ordeal in the overall hospital system, and in particular the Emergency Department (ED), in the days leading up to her passing in late September.

Galway West Coroner, Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin, is also inquiring into the matter and an inquest will be held.

The family of the Connemara native, who lived for most of her life in the city, have sought answers as to what exactly happened to their mother, while in the care of the public hospital.

In an official complaint lodged with UHG, it is alleged that the woman was assaulted by a fellow patient in the ED early one morning last month.

She was allegedly thrown or flipped out of the trolley she was lying on, in the overflow area of the ED, and broke her hip when she hit the floor.

“Why was my mother left unattended with an aggressive patient free to roam around the ED? How is it possible that there was nobody there to protect my mother? My mother was brought to the ED to get health care and we believed she was safe, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. How many more families have had similar incidents?” her daughter said in an interview with Galway City Tribune.
This is a preview only. To read the full report, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

€6m boost for overhaul of ‘Atlantic Museum’

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An artist's impression of the plaza area around the City Museum. IMAGE: HALEY SHARPE DESIGN

Galway City Tribune – Fáilte Ireland has announced a €6.64 million investment in Galway City Museum in what is the single biggest infrastructural investment made by the tourism body in its history – money they believe will create a bench mark attraction for local authorities across Ireland and draw €30 million in revenue for the region in its first five years of operation.

The €10.2 million development, which will be co-funded by Galway City Council, will incorporate the iconic building of Comerford House and will provide access to the Spanish Arch in a way that has never been possible before.

Head of Attractions with Fáilte Ireland, Mary Stack, said that while this was a big and ambitious project, they aimed to open the doors in early 2022.

“We’re aiming for a 2022 opening. It seems like a long time away but I’m telling you, it will be time well spent getting everything in place because this is going to be a state-of-the-art museum. I think it will set best practice in the country for local authority museums.

“It will be a much longer experience now, so instead of coming in for a couple of hours, you could literally spend the whole day in the museum and it would be a day well spent,” she said adding that a new addition would be the ability to climb up to the top of Spanish Arch.

“Visitors like to be able to get on top of something, to be able to climb it and get to a height, so I think it will actually draw people down form Quay Street and you’’ be able to see it straight away. Even if you didn’t know what it was before you got here, once you see people on top of the Spanish Arch, you’re going to want to come in.,” she added.

As part of this investment, the museum is also set to be rebranded to the ‘Atlantic Museum’ – a title that Museum Director Eithne Verling said encapsulated the entire concept of what will be a centrepiece in one of Galway’s most iconic locations.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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