Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Dominican Convent faces wrecking ball



The Dominican Sisters on Taylor’s Hill are to get a brand new convent next year, after city planners heard the plight of their existing 13 year-old convent, which has a litany of structural faults.

The wrecking ball will then be taken to the original building, which contravenes a series of Building Regulations.

The new single-storey convent will not cost the Congregation of Dominican Sisters a cent – it will be funded by legal action taken against architects O’Connor, Keogh, Mulcaire and engineers HGL O’Connor, as well as builders TBD Building Contractors and TBD Group Holdings – all Galway companies. The Galway companies were behind the original three-storey convent built in 2000.

This week, city planners gave the go-ahead for a new 850 square metre building with 12 bedrooms, as well as outline planning permission for three houses on the site at the end of the Mount Eaton cul de sac.

Sr Caitríona Gorman told the Galway City Tribune that – unless there is an appeal against the planning grant – the new convent will be completed before the end of 2014.

As it stands, the convent is in contravention of several elements of the Building Regulations including fire safety and electrical systems.

The existing three-storey convent was completed in 2000, to provide accommodation for between 20 and 30 nuns, and specifically designed for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility. Fourteen nuns live there at the moment.

However, it emerged that corridors, entrance halls and en-suite bathroom doorways were not wide enough for wheelchair access – a key requirement at the design stage.

There were also serious issues with heat loss, condensation, water ingress, ventilation and windows which were incorrectly installed and which did not open properly.

Cracks and faulty lighting were immediately apparent when the nuns moved into the convent and by 2003, serious structural defects were discovered.

Remedial works were carried out in 2007, but the matter led to a legal dispute.

Among the litany of problems uncovered were: corridors not wide enough; lack of disability access to bathrooms and bedrooms; a step which contravened the idea of ‘universal access’ and entrance lobby that cannot be used by those with a disability.

The engineers uncovered structural issues, fire safety issues, problems with the electrical and mechanical systems, heat loss and condensation.

It was also found that there was no radon barrier on the ground floor.

The engineers told city planners: “By Autumn 2003, serious deterioration in the building fabric was becoming evident in a number of areas. A significant programme of remedial works was undertaken in 2007, which included works to the roof and walls.

“These were not completed in full and the matter became a full legal dispute between the building owners and the contractors and design team that was only recently resolved my mediation.

“Damages awarded in mediation were calculated to provide for remediation of these issues. However, some of the functional design flaws cannot be corrected.

“Furthermore, in the 14 years since the current building was first designed, the size of the Dominican community has more than halved, and the needs of the Sisters have shifted considerably.”

The new convent will be a one-storey structure organised around a central glazed winter garden. Bedrooms and en suite bathrooms are provided for 12 sisters, with dining and living facilities. There is also a chapel planned in the building.


Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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.

Continue Reading


Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault



Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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.

Continue Reading


Council turns down controversial phone mast plan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads