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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

Hero’s welcome following rescue of two women on Galway Bay

Stephen Corrigan

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Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The miraculous rescue on Galway Bay yesterday of two young women from Knocknacarra brought 15 long hours of searching to a euphoric conclusion, as cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) were brought safely to shore.

A major search and rescue operation was launched after the pair went missing from Furbo Beach on Wednesday night, when they were swept away by a sudden wind while paddle boarding.

Claddagh fisherman and former Lifeboat shore crew member Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning and were the heroes of the hour after they discovered the two women on their boards, clinging to a lobster pot about two miles south-west of Inis Oírr, where despite their ordeal, they were described as “ok, but shaken”.

In the face of torrential rain and high winds overnight, both women had drifted almost 20 miles out to sea, but amazingly neither required serious medical attention.

Sara’s mother, Helen Feeney, raised the alarm shortly after 9pm on Wednesday evening when she noticed the pair missing as she walked their dog along the shore.

Sara, a daughter of Helen and Bernard Tonge, and Ellen, daughter Deirdre and well-known former captain of Galway United Johnny Glynn, were both said to be in good spirits at the hospital yesterday afternoon.

One relative told the Galway City Tribune that the family was “utterly humbled by the generosity of people” who had took part in the search and said, “unbelievable doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

“Thank you from all the family to everyone who helped, words will never express our gratitude.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Photo: Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Neighbours of Mad Yolk Farm have asked Galway City Council to determine whether planning permission is required for a portable chicken coop earmarked for the land in Roscam.

This week, Mad Yolk Farm has indicated that it will be adding chickens to the site, which has already been the subject of planning enforcement by the local authority.

In a Facebook post, the operators said they are planning to rear organic chickens on site, with neighbours fearing as many as 450 birds in the chicken ‘caravan’.

“Our chicken caravan is now built and our beaked ladies will arrive in eight days. We’ll be moving the hens onto fresh grass each day and they’ll be free to forage for insects and take mud baths. They’ll be free to behave like a chicken should,” the business said on social media.

It has prompted a neighbour of the property to write the Council to formally ask for a declaration “whether the work/development described in the form is or is not development or is or is not exempted development under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has poured cold water on a suggestion that it should install water sprinklers to deter ‘bushing’ at city centre hotspots for outdoor drinking, such as Spanish Arch.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) this week said the local authority should examine providing sprinklers, to deter bushing, after Spanish Arch and Middle Arch were packed with hundreds of revellers during the sunshine last weekend, and the areas were littered with alcohol bottles and cans.

Cllr Hoare said large crowds were prohibited from gathering outside due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, and if the partying continued “Galway will be the next county to be locked down”.

He said CCTV cameras should be installed at Spanish Arch and Middle Arch and added: “Galway City Council should consider installing sprinklers as a long-term solution.”

However, the City Council said it was not its intention to install sprinklers.

“It’s so hot at the moment, if you put out a sprinkler anywhere in Galway, people would just dance under it. We’re so unused to this muggy heat, that if you did that (installed sprinklers), on top of your 12-pack of Bacardi Breezers, or whatever it is young people drink these days, you’d have the biggest wet t-shirt competition this side of Ibiza – people would just dance under them. No, we have no plans for sprinklers,” remarked a City Council spokesperson.

He said the Council was unaware of a separate suggestion – announced by Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard on social media – that certain city areas be exempted from the street drinking bylaws, to allow them to be monitored and controlled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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