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Developers plan to demolish church in Eyre Square revamp

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Ambitious plans to develop a new Eyre Square East Quarter – including a new public square, hotel, shops, offices and apartments – will involve the demolition of the ‘newer’ St Patrick’s Church.

The plans also involve the creation of a new public square set around the original St Patrick’s Church, which is now disused.

However, the Diocese of Galway has issued a statement to say that no approach whatsoever has been made by the developers and the Diocese has no plans to “sell, deconsecrate, demolish or move St. Patrick’s Church, the ‘old St. Patrick’s’ Church, the associated parish houses or the adjacent graves”.

In a submission to Galway City Council, the Comer Group and McHale Group – who jointly own more than 30 properties in the block to the east of the Square – say the current church would have to be “re-housed”.

“A suggested masterplan proposes new pedestrian streets in a north-south and east-west configuration through the site to encourage and reinforce linkages with the existing urban grain.

“One of these routes is on the alignment of St Patrick’s Avenue with a new public square created around the original St Patrick’s Church building, which would provide a public/cultural focus for the area.”

Their plans for the 6.5 acres bounded by Prospect Hill, Bóthar Uí hEithir and Forster Street involve the creation of a new East Quarter with ground floor shop units opening out onto a public square, and walkways leading to each of those areas.

Around 100 submissions were received by the Council on the Draft Development Plan – under legislation, at this stage in the process, only modifications which are “minor in nature and would not have significant effects on the environment” can be made.

Chief Executive Brendan McGrath is currently preparing a report for councillors which will be discussed at the end of November. The Development Plan is expected to be adopted at the beginning of December, and comes into effect four weeks after that point.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Diocese of Galway spoke of the “hurt” at learning of the Comer/McHale proposals after reading today’s Galway City Tribune, and it has not had any approach from the developers.

“The Diocese of Galway and the Parish of St. Patrick fully understand and absolutely share the deep sense of hurt, surprise and upset felt by many faithful and good people of this old city parish on reading the City Tribune today.

“Property Developers may draw up plans and make proposals but, in this matter, they have lacked the most basic elements of common courtesy.

“Neither the Diocese of Galway or the Parish of St. Patrick’s has been approached or consulted in any way about a so-called ‘plan’ to acquire and demolish this Church property.

“Neither the Diocese of Galway or the Parish of St. Patrick’s have any plans to sell, deconsecrate, demolish or move St. Patrick’s Church, the ‘old St. Patrick’s’ Church, the associated parish houses or the adjacent graves.

“Neither the Diocese of Galway or the Parish of St. Patrick has engaged in any process, discussion, surmising or agreement with anybody, developer, politician or otherwise, on these matters,” the statement reads.

You can read the Comer/McHale submission under the Draft City Development Plan HERE.

For more on the Eyre Square East Quarter plans and the City Development Plan, see this week’s Galway CIty Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council to ‘review’ Kirwan junction

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Councillors are demanding proof that the €5 million spent to transform Kirwan Roundabout into a signalised junction was money well spent – blasting the new junction as having created long delays and worsening rat-running.

A meeting of the local authority last week heard that while there was a general acceptance there would be ‘teething problems’ with the traffic-light junction after it became operational in July, ongoing issues were continuing to draw the ire of road users and local residents.

Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind) said he was one of five councillors on the previous Council to initially vote against the removal of the roundabout, based on fears that it would increase traffic through local residential areas – a fear that had been realised.

“What changes have been needed to be done since it went live,” asked the former Mayor, indicating that there had been little improvement.

Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) said he understood that enhancement works were being done, but more were required.

“A lot of drivers are avoiding it and its driving traffic through the likes of Terryland Business Park. The Tuam Road is now gridlocked,” he said, calling on the Council to do a “PR exercise” to encourage drivers back to Kirwan.

Cllr Clodagh Higgins (FG) said the junction continued to confuse people and suggested that “overhead hanging signs” would be of assistance.

Green Party Councillor Niall Murphy said when the roundabout was slated for removal, it was promised that delays would be reduced by 25% and rat-running by 90% – but as yet, no evidence had been provided to show this.

“We need to put some science on this.

“The rat-running has moved to Dyke Road and there are some sections of that road where there are no footpaths, so it is quite dangerous for pedestrians,” said Cllr Murphy.

Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the meeting he believed there was a silent majority that were satisfied with the new junction.

He said that the junction’s ‘go live’ date was July 19, which coincided with the reopening of many parts of society that had been in lockdown due to Covid, and that had contributed to additional traffic.

“The first two objectives were to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and those objectives have been achieved.

“There will be a post project review – that is something that we always do and I would be happy to bring that back to Council for its consideration,” said Mr Finn.

Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath confirmed that review was set to get underway.

“It will go through the various elements and if issues arise following the review, they will be addressed,” he said.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Thieves target cars as owners unload shopping bags

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Galway shoppers have been advised by Gardaí not to leave their vehicles unlocked or unattended as they bring their shopping into their homes.

This follows reports in the Newcastle area of opportunist thieves ‘striking’ as the shopping bags were being moved into houses.

One resident told the Galway City Tribune that the thieves waited until the person had taken a bag of shopping from their cars to bring into their home.

“This gives the thieves a minute or two to have a quick look in the car – what they seem to be looking for are purses, bags or wallets that are left behind in the car,” the resident stated.

He added that some of local residents had notices two ‘youngish lads’ – possibly in their late teens or early 20s – hanging around the Newcastle Park Road area over the past week or two.

“I just think that people need to be on their guard for this kind of opportunist theft. They just wait until the driver goes inside the house with the shopping and before they come back out, they do a quick search of the car,” he said.

Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that opportunist thieves would always be ‘on the look out for a handy theft’.

“What I would advise is that either have someone to keep an eye on the car when the shopping is being removed – or else lock the car each time, and don’t leave any cash or valuables in the vehicle.

“It might be an inconvenience to lock the car each time you go back into the house, but it is still far better than having something stolen from your vehicle,” said Sgt Walsh.

He also urged, that as a matter of routine, no one should leave any valuables in their cars when they parked them up.

“Even the coins that some people keep in car pockets for parking or other small payments can attract thieves. Never leave anything of value in your vehicles,” he said.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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