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CITY TRIBUNE

Ex-Limerick player has hit the ground running as new Galway manager

John McIntyre

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New Galway hurling manager Shane O'Neill who has been handed a two-year term in charge of the Tribesmen.

VIRTUALLY every photographer covering county hurling final day at Pearse Stadium last Sunday had a second brief . . . to get a snap of the new Galway team manager Shane O’Neill.

Though some of the paparazzi even had file photos of O’Neill on their cameras, it proved an elusive challenge. The Limerick native was in Salthill, but had no desire to stand out from the crowd.

O’Neill’s low-key, studied personality was actually a big influence in winning the support of the four-man committee tasked with finding a successor to Micheál Donoghue.

The process came down to O’Neill and fellow Limerick man, Ciaran Carey, but it was the Na Piarsaigh native who ticked more of the boxes ahead of his free-spirited former inter-county playing colleague.

Ratified for a two-year term the previous Friday, O’Neill’s presence at the county final between St Thomas’ and Liam Mellows marked the start of a busy few days for the solicitor based in Limerick city.

He has already linked up with Galway’s conditioning coach Lukasz Kirszenstein and was due to meet the senior hurling panel later in the week. O’Neill is also on the look out for two local selectors.

The new Galway manager has enticed John Fitzgerald, a former Na Piarsaigh player, to come on board as team coach and the two have worked together in the past, notably with Eire Óg, Nenagh.

A half-forward with Limerick from 1994 to 2000, O’Neill won a Munster championship in 1996 and also collected a National League medal the following year.

At 37, he had the great joy of lining out for Na Piarsaigh when the club captured its first ever senior hurling title in 2011 and within a couple of seasons was assisting manager Sean Stack, the former Clare defender, with ‘observational analysis’.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Covid could leave Galway City Council with €25m budget hole

Stephen Corrigan

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Shop STreet this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is facing into a “potential crisis scenario” with a forecasted €25 million black hole in its budget, unless the Government comes good on a promise to plug the gap left by Covid-19.

That’s according to City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath who told councillors this week that the commercial rates waiver introduced by Government and a drop in income from goods and services provided by the local authority could slash their forecast annual revenue by 25%.

Mr McGrath said the last Government, when it introduced the rates waiver for cash-strapped businesses in March, had committed to €260 million to be put aside to bolster local authority finances, but no detail of how that will be rolled out had been provided.

“We are hoping as part of the July stimulus package, the new Government will give us the detail we so desperately need,” he said.

“Our rates standing orders have been wiped out to the tune of 90%.”

Tourism was crucial to the economic success of Galway, he continued, with approximately 80% of city businesses reliant on tourists to stay afloat.

“We have the highest percentage dependency of any local authority on rates from the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Mr McGrath.

It was for that reason that the Executive was seeking councillors’ approval to free up €485,000 of the so-called ‘Marketing Sinking Fund’ to finance a raft of tourism initiatives aimed at boosting the local economy by attracting domestic tourists as Covid-related restrictions are eased, in what Mr McGrath referred to as “temporary internal borrowing”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, and more on the tourism promotion plans, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Seafront prom and new train station planned for Murrough

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A vision of a new urban district on GMIT lands at Murrough – including a seafront promenade and new train station – has been submitted to Government for funding approval.

Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has outlined a plan to ‘leverage’ land and resources of the third level institute to create a new East City Urban District.

Mr McGrath has included the plans in an application for funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

The total value of the project would be €61 million, he said, which values the land at Murrough at about €14 million.

“We are seeking URDF investment to activate these sites as catalysts to boost population and economic output for the city and region,” Mr McGrath told city councillors.

He said that by leveraging the lands at GMIT, the Council was delivering on a target in the National Planning Framework 2040, which states there should be “special focus on capitalising on the potential of underutilised and publicly owned and centrally located sites”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Plans to double size of Galway City student complex

Enda Cunningham

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A computer-generated image of how the new Cúirt na Coiribe would look.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The investment fund which owns the Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation complex on the Headford Road is planning to more than double the number of bed spaces there to 920.

Exeter Property Group, one of the biggest property investment groups in the world, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission to demolish a two-storey building to the front of the development and to remove the existing fifth floor attic level from the next block.

The proposal involves extending upwards and outwards to create a total of 920 bed spaces in 868 bedrooms in a single building with nine linked blocks ranging from two to six storeys.

The project includes a gym/fitness studio in the basement, a games room, library/study spaces, café/restaurant and lounge spaces.

There will be 59 carparking spaces and 656 cycle spaces included. A total of 398 of the 405 existing bed spaces will be retained.

It is proposed that the existing bed spaces will retain their original planning permission which allows for short-stay lets throughout the year, and the additional 515 spaces would only be permitted to be used as short-stay lets during the summer months.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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