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Connacht Tribune

Dilapidated court building may be renovated next year

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The renovation of the old dilapidated courthouse in Tuam could well commence next year – it is to be considered under a new Government capital programme for funding.

It has been learned that there will be a review of potential capital projects over the next couple of months and the old courthouse in Tuam is to form part of this process.

Since the courthouse on the Dublin Road closed more than 10 years ago, the twice monthly sittings have been taking place at different locations being rented by the Court service.

Already the courts in Tuam have been moved twice since the closure and, as they have been asked to quit their current premises at the old Grove Hospital, another venue is in the pipeline.

The fact that the courts in Tuam have no permanent location is proving quite costly for the Courts Service who are stuck with hefty bills for rent. But this situation could come to an end over the coming years. Minister of State at the Office of Public Works, Sean Canney said that there is an upcoming review of new projects to be funded and the old Tuam Courthouse will be included for consideration.

He said that funding of up to €2 million will be sought to carry out the renovations and a decision is expected well before the summer.

The court sittings in Tuam were moved from this location for health and safety reasons as the building had fallen into an extremely poor state of repair.

Prior to its closure, the Courts Service had purchased an extensive building to the rear of the courthouse from Tuam Stars GAA Club for €500,000 and this, too, is in a bad state of disrepair.

Minister Canney said that while he is in office, he is determined that the current situation of renting premises around Tuam for court sittings has to come to an end. He added that the town needed a purpose-built courthouse.

“This current nonsense has gone on for far too long. The Court Service do not have Tuam as part of their current building programme, so the funding has to come from somewhere else.

“There is an upcoming review of State capital projects and Tuam Courthouse will form part of this. But we have to push hard for it to be included for the funding required so that the renovation programme can get off the ground”, Minister Canney added.

Brendan McDonald of the Courts Service told the Connacht Tribune that their current building programme included the construction of seven new courthouses across the country with the second phase involving a further five new courthouses.

He said that, unfortunately, Tuam was not in their plans but added that if the OPW could source alternative funding, then he would welcome this “with open arms”.

Since the closure of the old courthouse, Galway County Council designated the front wall of the building as a protected structure – many consider it as an one of the worst eyesores in the town.

However, it is understood that if funding is provided for the courthouse, the Council will consider de-listing the wall as the whole property would have to be flattened in order to provide a state-of-the-art venue for court sittings.

Connacht Tribune

Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash

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A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.

Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.

The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.

The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.

The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.

Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them. 

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Connacht Tribune

Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra

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Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Gardaí: ‘Stay at home during Storm Barra’

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Gardaí in Galway have warned people to stay home tomorrow (Tuesday) as Met Éireann forecasted a ‘risk to life’ ahead of Storm Barra’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council was preparing for the ‘high probability’ of coastal flooding.

A combination of tomorrow’s high tides with the forecast high winds and heavy rainfall would likely lead to a flooding event, he said.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the best advice available was to stay at home but refused to comment on school closures – advising that was a matter for the Department of Education.

Mr McGrath said a number of meetings between local and national agencies had already taken place, with more set to run throughout the day as preparations got underway for this winter’s first severe weather event.

“High tide is at 6.45am tomorrow morning and at 7.20pm tomorrow evening. There is currently a Red Marine Warning in place for the sea area that includes Galway and an Orange Storm Warning for Storm Barra for 6am Tuesday morning to 6am on Wednesday morning,” said Mr McGrath, adding that it was possible this storm warning could be raised to Red later today.

With high tide at 5.45 metres and a forecast storm surge of 1.05m, the risk of flooding was significant. In addition, winds were currently forecast to be South-West to West, said Mr McGrath, conducive to a flooding event in the city.

“It is potentially problematic . . . the hope would be that the storm surge doesn’t happen at the same time as high tide,” he added.

The flood protection barrier had been installed at Spanish Arch over the weekend and storm gullies had been cleaned. Sandbags were to be distributed throughout the day, said Mr McGrath.

Council staff would be on duty throughout the weather event and Gardaí would be operating rolling road closures from early morning. Carparks in Salthill were closed today, while tow trucks were on standby to remove any vehicles not moved by their owners before the high-risk period.

Chief Supt Curley said it was imperative people stayed home where possible.

The best way to say safe was to “leave the bicycle or the car in the driveway” from early tomorrow morning, and to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.

Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said.

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