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Discussions over sulky racing in Ballinasloe

Declan Tierney

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Intense discussions are to take place to determine if sulky racing can again be allowed at the Ballinasloe October Fair after it was banned at this month’s event.

There was a lot of bad feeling amongst the Travelling community when the decision was taken not to allow sulky racing take place – so much so that the popular lunging event in which horse owners display their animals for sale was disrupted and did not take place.

However, there was another lunging event last weekend in Ballinasloe as part of the annual fair and this went off without incident.

In recent years, sulky racing has taken place in a controlled situation – rather than on public roads. But the authorities prevented it from happening at this month’s event for health and safety reasons.

But now Cllr Michael Finnerty has confirmed that discussions would now take place amongst the interested parties with a view to holding the sulky racing again.

He said that these would involve the fair organisers, Galway County Council and the local Gardaí among others. He said that he wanted to avoid the scenes that took place on the first weekend of the fair.

Over the course of the two week fair, the event attracts tens of thousands – the vast majority of whom come for the spectacle. However, there is a lot of serious horse trading conducted as well with some animals on view worth in the region of €30,000.

It is also an occasion for the publicans and traders in the town to take advantage of the two week bonanza as Ballinasloe, like other rural towns, has suffered considerably during the recession and the recovery seems to be very slow.

There have been a number of public order incidents but nothing more than usual while there were thousands of viewers on social media who were intrigued when one Traveller entered the Tesco store in the town on a pony.

But the ban on the sulky racing prompted an ‘invasion’ of the lunging and the Gardaí had difficulty in controlling the situation. A video of the scenes shocked some viewers on social media.

“What we have learned from this situation is that people don’t want to be driven, they want to be led. It is possible for the sulky racing to be held at The Glebe and all interested parties will be coming together to make this happen next year,” Cllr. Finnerty added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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