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Galway Bay FM News Archives

ESAT ‘deal’ may have cost the city 1,200 jobs

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Date Published: 24-Mar-2011

BY CIARAN TIERNEY

The controversial decision to award the country’s second mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone in 1995 may have cost Galway at least 1,200 jobs as one of the rival bidders intended to locate its national headquarters in the city.

Following this week’s publication of the Moriarty Tribunal, which found that then Minister for Communications Michael Lowry TD “secured the winning” of the competition for Esat Digifone, it has emerged that Galway was one of the big losers from the process.

North Galway businessman Declan Ganley, part of the Cellstar consortium which lost out to Esat Digifone and Denis O’Brien, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune yesterday that his group had intended to set up their national HQ in the city.

Mr Ganley, who has now called on Michael Lowry to “do the country a service” by resigning his seat in the Dáil, was part of an unsuccessful consortium which included Comcast, RTÉ, Bord na Mona, and CGI Ltd.

“It had been part of our bid that our headquarters would be located in Galway,” he said. “It was anticipated that we would create 1,200 jobs in year one and these jobs would not have been just in the core phone business.

“It was anticipated that there would have been a huge spin-off and there would have been considerable additional investment in the West of Ireland. There would have also been related jobs in Galway in QVC, the shopping channel, which was owned by Comcast, one of the main partners of the consortium. And we were among the early advocates of broadband, which we intended to roll out from our proposed Galway HQ.

“Remember this was in the mid-1990s, when such an investment would have had a really significant impact in Galway. The knock-on effect at that point would have been immense. It would have attracted other businesses.”

The tribunal report detailed payments made by entrepreneur Denis O’Brien for the benefit of Mr Lowry, now Independent TD for Tipperary North, following the awarding of the licence to Mr O’Brien’s Esat Digifone.

Mr Ganley and Comcast are hopeful that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in relation to the awarding of the licence in the next four to six weeks

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway County VEC Chief takes High Court case

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

The High Court is hearing arguments from the state in an action brought by two VEC bosses who are challenging the loss of an annual allowance worth 12 and a half thousand euro.

Former president of the GAA Joe McDonagh who’s the CEO of County Galway VEC and Dr Katie Sweeney, CEO of Mayo VEC, say a special Transport Liaison Officers Allowance should not have been cut, even though that part of their role no longer operates.

Lawyers for the Department of Education deny the allowance is part of their pay.

The case is in the context of planned changes within the VEC system under the Croke Park agreement.

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Planning go ahead for community facility in Doughiska

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Date Published: 09-May-2013

A hotel in the city is to be changed into a community facility.

Planning permission has been granted to DRA Community Development Company Limited to redevelop the ‘Racing Lodge Hotel’ in Doughiska.

It’s planned to use the building for community, educational and pastoral use.

Planners have attached 4 conditions to the development, including the stipulation that all uses at the building be on a not-for-profit basis.

 

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway call for Transport Minister to intervene in bus strike

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Date Published: 13-May-2013

City Councillor Michael Crowe is calling on the Transport Minister Leo Vradkar to urgently intervene to end strike action by Bus Eireann in Galway.

Major travel disruption is expected in Galway and nationwide as the national strike enters its second day.

Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.

Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing their picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city.

It’s understood up to 80 Galway workers took part in the picket on rotational rosters yesterday.

Speaking on Galway Talks, City Cllr Michael Crowe said Minister Vradkar needs to take urgent action to intervene so that transport services can be restored.

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