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Connacht Tribune

County Council passes anti-social behaviour strategy

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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A strategy to tackle the growing problem of anti-social behaviour has been adopted by Galway County Council – despite the fact that a number of councillors felt it didn’t go far enough enough.

They told a Council meeting that it didn’t have sufficient power to combat the few neighbours from hell who were making life miserable for others.

They said that they felt the Council didn’t have the will – or the staff – to monitor and carry out measures aimed at punishing those involved in this behaviour.

Nonetheless the policy, which has been put together to reduce incidences of anti-social behaviour and bullying on council estates, will now be rolled out among all social housing tenants.

Michael Owens, Director of Services for Housing, told the meeting that the number of tenants involved in anti-social behaviour was small but that it affected many.

He said the Council was adopting a multi-agency approach to work together to minimise the problem.

Councillor Jimmy McClearn said the matter was quite simple — that the tenancy agreement had to be enforced by ensuring every tenant signed up to it and afterwards that the Council had to have the strength to take appropriate measures to deal with problems as they arose.

“We are refusing to listen to those making the complaints about their neighbours from hell and we are not dealing with those causing the problems. If it’s only a small number of people, let’s deal with the problem instead of shuffling papers around a table,” he said.

He added that the behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated at any level and that tenants should know they would be out the door if they continued behaving in such a manner as to make life miserable for their neighbours.

Cllr Tom McHugh recalled the situation in Tuam and Ahascragh were dozens of council houses were wreaked by tenants.

He said the few involved in anti-social behaviour were bullies who played music loudly well into the early hours of the morning, brought their fights out onto the green and caused disruptions safe in the knowledge that they could get away with it.

“We should have strong deterrents to stop this. No point in bringing them to Court if the judiciary can’t do anything about it. Their benefits should be reduced. It’s not fair to others who are paying their rents,” he said.

Cllr Shaun Cunniffe said he wouldn’t be supporting the strategy as it lacked any teeth and that those who lived a ‘life of benefits and didn’t engage with education or employment’ should face ejection if they didn’t comply with their tenancy agreements.

Many people were afraid to lodge a complaint against an unruly neighbour, said Cllr Dermot Connolly, and even when they did, they were very reluctant to sign a complaint or give evidence if the matter went to Court.

It was often the case, he added, that it was vulnerable people whose lives were ruined by the anti-social behaviour of others.

Another councillor, Pete Roche, reminded the meeting that it wasn’t as if they hadn’t a similar strategy before now and wondered if the Local Authority had the will or the staff to police unruly tenants.

He said that a local court heard the case recently of a tenant physically and verbally assaulting Council staff, something he described as torture and wondered what assurances could be given that this would not be repeated.

Cllr Roche said the Council had to be prepared to be unpopular and tackle these unruly tenants.

Councillors around the chamber had their own stories about unruly tenants and most voiced their concerns that no strategy could tackle the problem.

It was also noted that as well as being a landlord, the Council was also the housing agency with the responsibility of housing the very people that might be evicted under the anti-social behaviour strategy.

But despite the many concerns raised, it was adopted.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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