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€40m in Galway property sales in just six weeks



The property market in Galway is showing signs of a renewed boom, with sales completed on almost €40 million worth of homes in the first six weeks of this year – up a massive 55% on the same period last year.

Local estate agents say there has been a significant recovery in market, and these figures are down to an end-of-year boom last year – sales can take up to three months to appear on the Government’s official Property Price Register.

According to the Register, sales were ‘stamped’ and completed on more than €38.2m worth of residential properties between January 1 and February 18 this year.

That’s up 55% on the €24.6m worth of property sales completed were completed in the corresponding period in 2014.

The actual number of homes sold was 225, compared to 169 last year – an increase of one-third.

Agents have reported an “extremely busy” market over the past twelve months.

Niall Browne of O’Donnellan & Joyce Auctioneers told the Connacht Tribune: “September and October was a really busy period with consistent sales levels. Each agent in our office was selling three, four or five houses per week.

“People in the city are selling up their traditional semis and moving to the country, so there are sales in both areas.

“Equity in their homes is increasing, and you also have negative equity mortgages [where debt is carried to the mortgage on the new property] which are helping things along.

“The city has recovered – prices are up 10% to 15% over the past twelve months, but they have stabilised now. You won’t see much of an increase in prices this year, unless it’s a particularly ‘stand out’ house.

“There was a period last summer where you would have four or five people bidding on the same property. That’s not really the case now; there’s interest, but people know their limit, and won’t go beyond it.

“We’ve got the most sensible market in the country now – prices have stabilised, sales are consistent. It’s not like parts of Dublin, where prices are going through the roof again.

“In the county in price terms, things haven’t recovered too much at all. There was no activity for three or four years during the recession. People are buying now in the likes of Corofin and Claregalway, but prices are at much the same level,” said Mr Browne.

Comparative figures from the Property Price Register for the first six weeks of 2013 show there was almost €17m worth of homes sold (128 units); in 2012, the figure was €15.1m (99 units); in 2011, it was €20.8m (96 units) and in 2010, the figure was €21m (90 units).

The official Register records figures from 2010 onwards.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run



A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda



Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway



Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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