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 ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.