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Feasibility study aims to keep Leisureland above water



A contract is expected to be awarded over the next few weeks for the carrying out of a feasibility study on the Leisureland complex in Salthill – aimed at getting the facility to a point of financial self-sufficiency.

The Board of Galway Salthill Fáilte – who run Leisureland on a subsidiary basis for the Galway City Council – have confirmed that there at least five tenders submitted for the feasibility study.

More business for the concert hall, greater all-year round usage of the greenfield site that accommodates the summer amusements, and better marketing of the pool and gym facilities, are expected to feature prominently in the brief for the study.

Over recent years, the Leisureland complex has proven to be a significant drain on the resources on the City Council – a few years back the local authority had to pump in €680,000 to balance the books.

This year, the City Council have ring-fenced a figure of €300,000 to make up for a project shortfall close to that amount – now the push is on to increase revenue generation at the facility.

Chairman of the Leisureland Board, Cllr. Donal Lyons told the Galway City Tribune that over recent years, considerable savings had been made in a number of areas including the installation of a new heat and power plant as well as staff reductions.

“We now feel that we are at the point where we have made all the savings and economies that we can – now we must look at ways of increasing income streams into the complex over the coming years,” said Cllr. Lyons.

He said that a silver lining to emerge from the extensive flood damage caused by the storms of January 2014 was that the facilities had been completely refurbished and were now state of the art.

“There is a very strong feeling amongst Board members that we need to banish any negativity concerning Leisureland.

“We need to get the message out there that this is now truly a magnificent facility both for tourists and the people of Galway.

“We now want to get the contract awarded for this feasibility study over the coming weeks with consultants experienced in this field pointing the way forward for the Leisureland facility,” said Cllr. Lyons.

He added that once the tender contract was awarded, they would then expect the feasibility study to be carried over the coming months . . . a report that would guide the Board as to future policy options.

Repairs at the Leisureland pool and gym complex took almost a year to complete after the January 2014 floods and cost in the region of €4m, paid for through the insurance cover on the premises.

There was an earlier than normal March start to the Curry’s Amusements this year on the greenfield site and they will continue on right through the Summer until the first week in September.

Connacht Tribune

Students see red over in-person exams




NUI Galway has moved this week to deny accusations that it is ‘playing Russian Roulette’ with students’ wellbeing by proceeding with in-person exams.

The Students’ Union blasted the university for its decision to forge ahead with examinations in exam halls amid sky-rocketing Covid-19 cases.

President of the SU, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, slammed college authorities for what she described as a ‘reckless attitude to students’ health and wellbeing’.

“The stubborn refusal by university management is playing Russian Roulette with the health of students and their families.

“We are talking about forcing people to attend multiple spreader-events right before they go home to their families for Christmas. This is reckless and irresponsible from university management, particularly when there is a tried and trusted alternative available,” said the student leader.

In-person exams for the vast majority of students were cancelled last year as the university remained closed throughout the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions.

However, students have been back attending lectures since September and NUIG plans to proceed with normal exams for the first time since Summer 2019 – albeit with a number of risk mitigating measures in place.

The Connacht Tribune has learned that following applications by in excess of 500 students for ‘reasonable accommodation’ – where certified conditions that increase the risk of adverse reaction to Covid infection – there will be 1,600 instances where exams will be sat in individual rooms.

It is understood that there are 16 exam venues this year – a much greater number than in previous years – and that additional cleaning measures including ‘air fogging’ will be carried out to sanitise large venues.

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Connacht Tribune

Big buy-out to trigger supermarket war



Groceries giant Tesco bared its teeth this week in Galway’s supermarket war as it announced it will take over the ten Joyce’s outlets across the county – as the expanding footprint of discount retailers in Galway continues to grow.

The British supermarket giant revealed that it is to acquire the Joyce’s chain – rebranding and redesigning the until now family-owned grocers, thus increasing its foothold in Galway by 200% – bringing its store count across city and county to 15.

This comes as Aldi is in the process of increasing its Galway workforce by 100 through the construction of stores in Mountbellew, Tuam, Athenry and on the Monivea Road in Galway City – Lidl also has a new store under construction in Knocknacarra and another on the way in Athenry.

In a statement this week, Tesco confirmed it intends to ‘welcome’ the more than 500 Joyce’s employees ‘as colleagues of Tesco Ireland’, but when contacted by the Connacht Tribune declined to comment how that might look in the restructured business.

A spokesperson for the retailer said the plans were being kept under wraps until the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) signed off on the acquisition.

“As this transaction is subject to CCPC approval, such details are being reviewed and it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment in further detail at this stage,” she said.

Whether the proximity of Joyce’s in Oranmore to the existing Tesco in the town would have an impact on either store could not be elaborated on, she added.

The move could spell good news for consumers though, as retailers including the multinationals as well as Dunnes and Supervalu continue to vie for top spot for market share. Suppliers could also see an increase in demand, stated Tesco this week.

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Connacht Tribune

Children forced to flee from back of burning home



The scene of the fire outside this Galway city home in Westside.

SEVEN children had to be evacuated from a house in Galway city at the weekend after two cars were set on fire in the early hours of the morning – one of them close to the front door of the house.

The incident is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat retaliations in a long-standing feud between two families going back over a number of years – Gardaí have expressed major concerns about the recklessness and dangers of the car burnings.

Two units of Galway Fire Brigade along with Gardaí were at the scene of the latest arson attack on two cars parked in the Carn Ard area of Rahoon in Galway city – one of them parked at the roadside and the other on the front driveway of a house.

The emergency services were alerted at around 6am on Sunday morning last after the cars were set alight – there were concerns for the safety of the family inside when the car on the driveway rolled forward towards the front door of the house.

Both vehicles were destroyed in the incident while the front door of the house was smoke damaged. Family members, who were inside at the time – including seven children – made their exit via the back door and back garden of their residence.

This is the fourth car burning incident over the past fortnight – all are understood to be all related to the ongoing feud between two families which also involves people from other parts of the county.

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