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CITY TRIBUNE

€4 billion worth of property sold in Galway in a decade

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This five-bed property in Lioscarraig on Threadneedle Road in Salthill sold for €1.45m.

More than €4 billion worth of homes were sold in Galway City and County over the past decade, according to the State’s official Property Price Register.

From January 2010 to December 2019, a total of 20,524 residential property transactions were registered here.

Last year alone, almost €620 million worth of homes were sold – the Property Price Register shows there was a slow-down in market activity in 2019 compared to the previous year, which saw the value of combined sales drop 3% and the volume of transactions drop more than 2%.

An analysis of official figures by the Galway City Tribune shows that up in 2019, there were a total of 2,593 property transactions in Galway City and County.

For comparison, in 2010 when the Price Register came into effect, there were 948 transactions, with a combined value of €211m – that means that in a decade, the number of transactions increased by almost 173%, while the value of sales almost trebled (up 192%).

In 2019, the total combined value of residential property sales was €619,929,382, down from €640,024,363 in 2018.

A ‘health warning’ comes with the figures in that the Property Price Register is compiled from data which is filed, for Stamp Duty purposes, with the Revenue Commissioners, and there can be delays before a transaction appears on the register.

Therefore, sales which were ‘closed’ in 2019, may not actually appear on the Register until 2020, while some late additions may be added to the 2019 Register.

The biggest single property sale of the year was a trophy Celtic Tiger home, Clarin House in Clarinbridge, at €2.2 million.

The luxury five-bed house was built in 2005 for €3m and previously failed to sell in 2012 at a price tag of €2.3m.

The 7,400 square foot house is set on 7.5 acres and boasts its own tennis court and floodlit football pitch, sports room, cinema room, bar, stables, paddock and outdoor sunken hot tub

Clarin House was also jointly the most expensive residential property sold in the last decade. Tulira Castle in Ardrahan was sold for the same price of €2.2m (the sale of land was purchased separately in that deal).

Close to Blackrock in Salthill, 4 Seamount sold for €2m. The large 1970s five-bed detached property stands on a quarter-of-an-acre and overlooks Salthill Promenade.

Seamount, Salthill: one of the biggest sales recorded on the Property Price Register in Galway last year at €2m.

Nearby, Number 13 Lioscarrig on Threadneedle Road is a five-bed detached home on around two-thirds of an acre. It sold for €1.45m.

In Clifden, the Old Rectory, which was built by town founder John Darcy in 1856, sold for €1.08m.

In total, there were 15 sales which exceeded the €1m mark – six of which were multi-unit residential sales.

The biggest property transaction in 2019 was 12 Racecourse Hill in Clifden, listed at more than €3.2m, suggesting it was a portfolio of a number of the two and three-bed houses in the estate. A portfolio of 14 homes in the estate sold in 2015 for €750,000.

A property at An Móinéar, Murrough, Renmore, in the city is listed as having sold at €3.2m – however, this is a new development of 20 homes behind the Garda HQ which is being run by the housing agency Clúid and would not represent the full open market value of the properties.

Numbers 1-6 Radharc na Gréine on the Monivea Road sold for €2.38m, while numbers 7-14 sold for €2.4m. These are also part of a social housing development.

In Salthill, a development of eight apartments, Marine View, on Quincentennial Drive, sold for €2.2m. Plans have already been lodged with Galway City Council for the demolition of the two apartment blocks and their replacement with 19 apartments specifically for short-term letting.

The cheapest property sale recorded in Galway in the first half of this year was at Tonroe, Oranmore, for €6,000.

The Property Price Register figures show that since 2010, the volume of sales being recorded in Galway – and their total value – decreased, before embarking on a significant upward trend.

In 2010, there were 948 sales registered in Galway, with a total value of almost €211.7m.

The comparative figures the following year were varied; the volume of sales was 956 (up less than 1%), while the value was €186.9m (down 11.7%).

In 2012, the value of sales was up around 4% to €194.3m and there was a 22.5% increase in the volume of sales from 956 to 1,171.

There was a subsequent massive jump in total values and volumes the following year – up 35% to 1,585 and up 27% to €248m.

Between 2013 and 2014, the volume of sales was up 53% from 1,585 to 2,428, while the total value was up 52% to €377.9m.

In 2015, there were 2,830 transactions with a total value of €477m, while in 2017, there were 2,783 transactions with a total value of €587m.

From 2017 to 2018, the volume of sales dropped from 2,783 to 2,654 (-4.6%), while the combined sales values increased by 9% from €587m to €640m.

CITY TRIBUNE

GSPCA closes city centre charity shop permanently

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From the Galway City Tribune – It’s the end of an era for a popular animal charity shop that has shut up shop for good at its city centre base.

The Galway SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has confirmed that it has not renewed its lease on its premises at St Augustine Street, where its charity shop has been based for a number of years.

The popular shop that sold books, clothes and bric-a-brac closed in June due to a leak in the building. It was due to reopen within days, but it has not and will not be, according to the charity.

The GSPCA said they are looking for a new premises in the city.

A spokesperson confirmed that the lease on the building was due to finish soon anyway, but after a major leak, the GSPCA and the landlord mutually agreed to bring forward the lease termination by a number of months.

“We hope to be up and running at another location in due course,” a spokesperson said.

A register charity and not-for-profit organisation, GSPCA still has a retail presence in Athenry and Ballinasloe, which generate money to run the organisation.

Its fundamental aim for over 20 years has been to care for animals in need through neglect, abandonment, abuse or those at risk due to a change in circumstances.

Its main sanctuary is based in the county, between Killimor and Portumna; and its cattery is in Athenry.

The charity assisted over 700 cats, dogs and smaller animals during 2020. According to accounts filed with the Charity Regulator, the vast majority of its income comes from donations, but its shops are important income sources and the charity made over €86,000 income from “trading and commercial activities” in 2020.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Workers in Galway still waiting for ‘frontline’ payments

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From the Galway City Tribune – A number of workers in healthcare settings in Galway have yet to receive promised pandemic bonus payments for toiling on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Government had pledged each front-line worker would get a €1,000 payment as a thank you for contributing to the national effort during the pandemic.

But nine months on from when the Cabinet signed off on the payment, many local workers, including nurses and carers, particularly in private nursing homes, have received nothing.

Louis O’Hara, a general election candidate for Sinn Féin in Galway, labelled it as another broken promise by this Government.

“Workers here in Galway such as caterers, cleaners, security staff, agency staff and many more on the frontline in our local hospitals and healthcare settings have been contacting me to express their concern that they are still waiting for this payment,” he said.

“They are entitled to receive this payment, however the Government has failed to follow through on their promises and workers have been left in the lurch with no answers and no sense of urgency from the Government,” he said.

Mr O’Hara told the Galway City Tribune that the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, needed to clarify that the funding was still there to pay the staff.

He said a breakdown of figures for the number of staff in Galway that were not yet been paid was not available, but Sinn Féin has been inundated with complaints from workers – particularly agency staff and those in private nursing homes.

“Frontline workers in Galway have been let down badly by this Government’s failure to follow through on their promises. This is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr O’Hara said.

The party’s Health spokesperson has written to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, urging him to intervene directly to ensure this payment is paid promptly.

Minister Donnelly, in a recent reply to a Parliamentary Question in the Dáil, said priority was given to payment of eligible staff in hospital groups, such as Saolta, and community services within the HSE.

He said that the Department of Health was “examining progressing the rollout” to six groups of non-HSE and Non-Section 38 Agencies, who were included in the scheme.

These include eligible workers in private nursing homes and hospices; staff on-site in long-term residential care facilities for people with disabilities; agency staff working for the HSE; healthcare assistants such as home help, home care and home support staff contracted by the HSE; Defence Forces members redeployed to work “in front-line Covid-19 exposed environments in the HSE”; and paramedics employed by Dublin Fire Brigade.

This was a “complex task”, he said, because “these employees are not normally paid by the public health service, duplicate payments need to be avoided, and there are many organisations to be covered”.

This work was being given “priority attention” he said.

“Payment to eligible workers will be made as soon as possible,” Minister Donnelly added.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Murals are part of initiative to restore pride in Ballybane estate

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From the Galway City Tribune – A poem about litter forms part of a vibrant colourful new mural painted on the walls of a City Council estate in Ballybane.

The poetry and artwork by local artist Irene Naughton is part of an initiative to restore pride in Sliabh Rua.

The final two lines of Ms Naughton’s poem, called The Dragon’s Foot, read: “The land, the sea and the river all get hurt when we leave a littered footprint on the earth.”

The full poem was painted onto boundary walls as part of a large colourful mural that was created by Ms Naughton.

The street art includes handprints from children living in the estate on the city’s east side.

It also depicts an enchanted forest, a dragon sitting atop Merlin Castle, a view of the Burren, a wolf, butterflies, insects and foliage, as well as a man playing the guitar, a former resident who died.

Ms Naughton, who was commissioned by the City Council’s Environment Department, said it took about five days to complete.

“The residents were very, very helpful and kind,” she said.

Councillor Noel Larkin (Ind) explained that the mural was part of a wider, ‘Ballybane Matters’ project, which stemmed from Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC).

“We were doing a lot of talking at the JPC about anti-social behaviour, and it seemed to be more prevalent in the Ballybane area. When we boiled it down, it was in the Sliabh Rua and Fána Glas areas.

“Month after month it was just talking. So Níall McNelis [chair of the JPC] said we should set up a small group to hone in on exactly what was going on,” he said.

A group was formed to focus on improving the Council estate of about 40 houses.

As well as Cllr Larkin, it included: Sergeant Mick Walsh, Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer and community Gardaí Maria Freeley, Nicola Browne, Kenneth Boyle and Darragh Browne; Fr Martin Glynn; Imelda Gormley of Ballybane Taskforce; Councillor Alan Cheevers; Donal Lynch, chairperson Merlin Neighbourhood Residents’ Association; and two members of Galway Traveller Movement, Katie Donoghue and Kate Ward.

Ms Gormley carried out a survey to get feedback from residents.

“A lot of the problems people had were horses on the green, people being harassed going in and out of estates, trailers full of rubbish left around the place, the City Council not cutting the grass, and anti-social behaviour,” explained Cllr Larkin.

Small improvements, with community buy in, has helped to revitalise the estate.

Cllr Larkin praised Edward Conlon, community warden with the City Council, who has been “absolutely brilliant”.

“He looked funding that was available to get trees or shrubs and to get the grass cut more regularly,” he said.

“Fr Martin got a residents committee set up because he knew people through the church, and that means there is community buy-in, people are actually taking an interest now.

“When we started originally, Sergeant Mick Walsh mentioned ‘the closed curtain syndrome’. You go into your home in the evening close your curtain and don’t want to see what’s going on outside. Whereas now, with community pride restored to the area, if somebody is acting the maggot outside, people are keeping an eye on it and that curbs anti-social behaviour,” said Cllr Larkin.

Covid-19 delayed the project but it “came together very quickly” once work started.

Cllr Larkin said that the project will move to other estates in Ballybane, including Fána Glas and Castlepark, but they also plan to maintain the progress made in on Sliabh Rua.

“We decided to concentrate on Sliabh Rua, because if we could crack Sliabh Rua we could crack the rest of them. Pride has been restored in the community,” added Cllr Larkin.

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