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CITY TRIBUNE

End of an era as two city centre shops shut their doors

Denise McNamara

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Galway City Tribune – Two of Galway’s oldest family businesses have closed, marking the end of an era for the city centre streetscape.

Griffin’s Bakery on Shop Street closed its doors on Monday, announcing with a notice posted on its door that it had gone into voluntary liquidation, while Deacy’s Fish Shop closed on Saturday following the owner’s retirement.

A note on Griffin’s window read: “Today is a very sad day for me personally, my wife, my children and my staff who worked tirelessly to keep the company open over these past few very challenging years in business.

“I will never be able to thank them enough for their loyalty, dedication and support. I wish to thank all our loyal customers who have come to Griffins to buy their bread, pastries, cakes and dined in our tearooms.”

Across the road, fish shop owner Michael Deacy Jnr retired having worked in the shop for 45 years.

“We sincerely thank all the people who supported us through many happy years,” the Deacy family wrote on their shopfront.

Michael Deacy Senior said the family had been trying to get his son to retire for a long time after it became clear that none of his children were interested in taking over the business.

The building will remain in the family but will likely be leased to another business – at least until another Deacy fancies taking it over, laughed Michael Snr.

“We haven’t a notion of selling it – it’s in the family too long. There are still discussions going on. If I was 20 years younger, I would develop it myself but we’re as well off to let somebody else do it.”

Their High Street neighbour, barber Tom Nally, said the closure of two of the oldest city traders would have a devastating effect on the area.

“I can’t believe it – two gone in a matter of days and both shops I shopped in on a daily basis – everyone’s surprised by the suddenness of it all,” he said.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and the history of both shops, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Hundreds of snapper Pat’s Galway photos set to be showcased

Denise McNamara

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Well-known face: amateur photographer Pat Cantwell

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Pictures of everyday Galway faces and places – captured by an amateur photographer as part of a hobby – are to be featured on new hoarding to be erected around the Bonham Quay building site.

Pat Cantwell’s photos of Galway people, scenery and buildings have garnered over 8,000 followers on his Facebook page, ‘Galway Faces & Places’.

He has now been approached by the developers of Bonham Quay to use 500 images as part of a hoarding around the massive €105 million development creating office space, retail and restaurant units.

Pat has advised members of the public whose photos he has taken to let him know if they are unwilling to be featured in the ‘people wall’.

“I have literally taken thousands of pictures of Galway people – it could be as many as 14,000 people – and I tell them it’s for my website and get their permission,” he explains.

“But it would be madness to try and get 500 signatures for this. Since I told people about it on the website, I’ve had 400 positive affirmations and only one man declined to be involved and that’s fair enough. It will be a random selection of people – as many well-known people as I can get.”

Pat, a native of Raleigh Row who now lives in Mervue, was a salesman in O’Connors TV & Video outlet for 25 years before moving to O’Shaughnessy’s Audiovision and Peter Murphy Electrical prior to his retirement.

It was following an unfortunate accident while on holiday in Australia to visit his son who lived in Perth that his passion for photography really took hold.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

At least 240 Galway City Airbnbs flouting planning rules

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – At least 240 short-stay apartments and houses in Galway City are operating without planning permission, according to local authority estimates.

However, former mayor Niall McNelis has said he believes the real figure is “far higher”, while Green Party councillor Pauline O’Reilly said Airbnb is “destroying our city”.

Under legislation introduced last July, the owners of some Airbnb-type rental properties must apply for planning permission – where they fall within certain criteria – because the city is classed as a Rent Pressure Zone.

For any property which is a second or subsequent home (not the owner’s home) which is used for short-term letting, a ‘change of use’ planning application is required “for the purpose of residential short-term letting/B&B”.

Since the law was passed, Galway City Council has received just three change of use planning applications for short-term lets.

The Council’s own estimate is that there are 1,200 properties in the city that come under the short-term letting umbrella. It estimates that only 720 of these are ‘active’, and of those some 480 are exempt from the new legislation.

That means, according to the Council’s own estimate, that 240 properties in the city are operating without planning permission in breach of the legislation.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Four-fold increase in homeless children

Stephen Corrigan

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Emergency 'Cold Weather Response' accommodation for being provided by COPE Galway and the City Council at Seamus Quirke Road.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City councillors gave their backing to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy this week, despite being told that the numbers of families and children homeless in the region had sky-rocketed by more than 300% in three years.

At a meeting of the local authority on Monday evening, the Draft Region Homelessness Action Plan 2020-2022 was presented to councillors, in which it was revealed that in terms of homelessness, the West is worst – since 2016, the region had the highest increase in the country.

Three years ago, some 130 adults were accessing homeless services through emergency accommodation. In August of this year, that figure had risen to 351.

The number of homeless families stood at 17 in 2016; this year, that figure was at 83 by the end of September.

Some 200 children were homeless at the end of August 2019, a 344% increase on the 47 who were without a home in 2016.

The report notes that 30 people were sleeping rough in Galway City in October, while there were 251 homeless adults in the city by the end of the third quarter – 146 males; 76 families; and 185 dependents.

A series of actions are set out by the plan, with homelessness prevention at the top of the list. This comprises of ensuring early intervention for high-risk categories, including: prison discharges; young people exiting care; hospital discharges; people exiting direct provision; and victims of domestic violence.

The Mayor and Cllr Ollie Crowe (FF) both described the new Housing Task Force established in Galway – which does not include any elected representatives – as a farce, with the Mayor hitting out at the arrogance of the Minister for Housing in saying that things were improving.

“You’ve a situation where you’ve kids going to school and their news of the day is that they’ve moved to a new B&B – and they’re being laughed at in class,” blasted the Mayor.
This is a preview only. For extensive coverage of the issue, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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