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Connacht Tribune

Flawed speed revisions ‘ripe for court challenge’



A barrister has predicted that the legal profession locally will ‘have a field day’ challenging speeding summonses in court if the county’s new speeding bylaws are passed next week.

James Charity, who is also a county councillor, said ‘every summons will be challenged’ in the District Court if he and his colleagues passed a report on the draft Road Traffic Special Speed Limits for County Galway Bylaws. “The District Court will have a field day,” he said.

“If I’m doing 62 kilometres (per hour) in a 60km/h zone, I’m going to go back and look for the maps and if there’s confusion (as to where the 60km/h zone starts) then it will be challenged. The proposals (for changes to speed limits) need to be mapped. You can’t say ‘lower the speed limit 200 metres from John Joe’s house to the crossroads’. It needs to be point A to point B and shown on a map,” he said.

Cllr Charity predicted a surge in challenges to speeding summons if the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District proceeded to make changes to the draft plan without being shown where the proposed new speed limits would be on a map.  Twice during the discussion on speed limits, Leas Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District, Cllr Martina Kinnane (FF) said ‘confusion reigns’.

“At least if we make the changes here, we won’t be doing it in a courthouse down the road,” she said.

Speed limits were also on the agenda at this week’s meeting of the Connemara Municipal District, where a proposal by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to reduce the speed limit on parts of the N59 to 80km/h caused outrage among some councillors.

The proposals by TII, includes maintaining the 100km/h limit between Galway City and Roscahill, a reduction to 80km/h between Rosscahill and Lettershea, and maintaining the 100km/h limit from there on to Clifden.

This, according to the TII, is taking into account the dangerous parts of the road where width and bends are most prevalent. Towns and villages along the road will see reduced limits on approach, with a 50km/h speed limit within the boundaries.  There are also proposals to include periodic speed limits at schools such as Rosscahill and Scoil Doire Glinne.

However, local councillor Tom Healy (SF) said the move would make life more difficult for the people of Connemara who have to use the N59 to commute.

“An 80km/h journey already takes an hour-and-a-half. Do you want to throw a gate up somewhere and close the whole bloody place off?” he blasted.

Each of the five Municipal Districts in County Galway have discussed the proposed changes in speed limits for their area.  The changes to each area arise following recommendations from elected representatives and the public following a statutory consultation process where the draft bylaws were out on public display.

Máire Ní Chíonna outlined to the Athenry/Oranmore meeting that there were 56 submission received about the bylaws. Some of the recommendations in these submissions were taken on board and included in the bylaws, and others were not.

Ms Ni Chíonna explained that eleven of the submissions related to Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District area, including one submission from Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind), who made recommendations to lower the speed limit on 22 roads.

Cllr Cuddy said it was “for the birds” that some of his recommendations were ignored; and because speed limits on local roads was a reserved function of councillors, he wanted to vote through his proposals anyway.

Ms Ní Chíonna said that many of the proposals from Cllr Cuddy were for reduced speed limits on local roads that are rats runs and used by commuters to get to Galway City. She said residents in those areas were understandably frustrated but it would be preferable to use alternative methods to make those roads safer, such as traffic calming, rather than lowering speed limits.

The draft bylaws were due to be discussed at the next full County Council meeting but it was agreed to defer the passing of the bylaws until the November meeting in order that the confusion in Athenry/Oranmore was cleared-up first. They will discuss the matter again at next week’s meeting before it goes to the full Council.

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Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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