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Connacht Tribune

€40k grant for rundown homes could help housing crisis

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Serious inroads could be made into the housing waiting list in both Galway city and county if only a fraction of the vacant properties were refurbished to liveable standards.

Under the Government’s Repair and Lease Scheme there are grants of up to €40,000 available to ‘do up’ thousands of unoccupied homes that could effectively go a long way towards solving the local authority housing crisis.

The figures reveal that there are more than 17,000 vacant properties across the whole of Galway (3,671 in the city and 13,690 in the county) – while the combined waiting list for Council housing stands at just over 7,000.

It means the current housing crisis could be largely resolved and it would also mean that there would be a less of a requirement for new social housing schemes to be funded or built.

Of course, the figure of 17,000 includes holiday homes that are largely unoccupied, vacant houses that would cost huge amounts of money to refurbish and empty properties that are located in areas where social housing is not a requirement.

In Tuam alone, €14 million is to be spent on the provision of social housing in the town with a further €1.7 million allocated for 10 new local authority homes in Ballinasloe – this alone would come close to refurbishing all of the houses required to eradicate the social housing crisis.

Minister Simon Coveney announced the scheme saying that it had already been piloted successfully in both Waterford and Carlow – he believes that the initiative can deliver up to 800 homes across the country this year alone.

The scheme has yet to be rolled out by Galway County Council or Galway City Council. When it does, it means that the owners of the property whose applications for refurbishment funding are successful will be required to lease the property to the local authority for a certain period of time – depending on the grant required to make the houses liveable.

Successful property owners can avail of upfront financing for the cost of repairs or else they need not even get involved in arranging the works and avail of a secure and reliable income from regular rental payments – and without having to take on landlord responsibilities.”

Ballinasloe councillor Aidan Donohue obtained the Galway figures and said that the current local housing crisis could be tackled in a meaningful way if this scheme was availed of.

He said that before any more new social housing is provided, the Repair and Lease Scheme should be availed of first as it would be much more cost effective.

“Even apart from that, it would address the current situation of the plethora of rural vacant houses that exist across rural Galway. Some of these houses are not in a bad state of repair and several thousand euros would go a long way to making them habitable again,” Cllr Donohue added.

Meanwhile, Roscommon-Galway TD Mick Fitzmaurice agrees that it will assist in solving the housing crisis in the county, but he stated that it was important for the likes of Galway County Council to roll it out as soon as possible.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary

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Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

A remarkable rally sees St Thomas’ reel in the ’Bridge

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Clarinbridge's Conor Lee tries to shake off the attentions of St Thomas' Victor Manso during Saturday's Senior A Group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Thomas’ 4-20

Clarinbridge 4-17

DARREN KELLY AT KENNY PARK

NOTHING at ‘stake’ but pride and last year’s two senior hurling championship finalists had plenty of that on Saturday as St. Thomas and Clarinbridge served up a thriller in their final group game.

Both teams were already guaranteed places in the knockout stages but for the winners, a path straight through to the quarter-finals proper was the reward and they played like that meant everything.

Obviously, neither side wanted to show weakness ahead of a potential showdown later in the year. The contest even had a half-time scuffle that resulted in yellow cards for St. Thomas’ duo John Headd and Conor Cooney.

Despite all that and the changing weather, the hurling was the only item for discussion afterwards. Three first half Clarinbridge goals gave them a 3-10 to 0-11 interval lead.  Four green flags for St. Thomas in the second period reminded the county that they still are the team to beat.

And that was the talking point before throw-in following their 22-match unbeaten streak ending with a heavy defeat to Turloughmore two weeks previously. And it wasn’t looking any better for St. Thomas’ when TJ Brennan struck a second minute goal for Clarinbridge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Country Living

Recalling strange times that ‘shook up’ our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

THE other day while doing another of those clear-outs of old documents that are well past their sell-by-date, I came across a couple of letters from my employer, which jolted me back into another world . . . but still a quite recent one.

Their purpose was to indicate that I needed to show up for work in-person (an essential employee if you don’t mind!) and if I was stopped at a Garda Covid checkpoint, then I could produce this piece of paperwork. We really did go through some strange times.

There are occasions too when I leave my desk and just for a split-second think that I’ve forgotten to don my mask. That same feeling also crosses my mind at times as I enter shops or other public places but then I realise that’s all very much of ‘yesterday’s news’.

Reminders still persist of those black days across the country mostly on visits to healthcare settings like pharmacies, GP surgeries or nursing homes, where staff still wear masks, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

It takes me back to a Sunday evening on March 15, 2020, in my local watering hole less than 48-hours before the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, when we were all highly sceptical about any pubs closing down.

We reassured ourselves too that such a development could never happen in a country noted for ‘the craic’ as our traditional day of national celebration approached. In our innocence, we thought we were wise old sods . . . but we had gotten things spectacularly wrong.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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