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Connacht Tribune

Former hotel set for new chapter as nursing home

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Plans to demolish the derelict Cloonabinnia House Hotel in Moycullen, to make way for a nursing home with more than 90 bedrooms, have been lodged with Galway County Council.

Owners Peter and Bernadette Moran have sought permission to demolish the former hotel and asylum-seeker hostel on the 3.1-acre site near Ross Lake, which closed down in 2008.

The plans involve the construction of a two-storey nursing home with 91 bedrooms, parking for 51 cars, restoration and renovation of three fire-damaged apartments as staff accommodation.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has expressed concerns about bats on the site and the need to protect them and told the local authority that a bat derogation licence must be in place before any work takes place, if permission is granted by the Council.

According to the planning application: “This building was erected in the 1970s and is of a generally poor standard of construction and neither does it have the facilities to provide modern hotel facilities such as swimming pool, leisure centre, etc. It ceased to operated as a hotel in 2005 and has had a varied history:
■ guesthouse/hotel until 1985
■ nursing home 1984-1988
■ hotel 1989-2005
■ hostel for asylum seekers 2005-08

“There are also three dwelling units on the site. These were burnt in recent years and it is proposed to restore them as staff accommodation. These units will be retained in the same ownership as the nursing home.

“The building has now been standing vacant for many years. There is, in the current market, no realistic prospect of the hotel re-opening because of its poor quality and inadequate facilities which are not of a standard that is expected today.

“In addition, the recent spate of hotel construction under government tax incentive schemes has led to a surplus of hotel capacity,” the application reads.

The plans include a medical centre, specialist short-term convalescent accommodation of 30 beds, an oratory, library, social rooms, internal and external leisure areas and restaurant.

A bat survey found the main hotel is a roosting site during winter and summer for six bat species, including the protected ‘lesser horseshoe bat’ species, and the woodland and lakeshore were identified as important foraging areas for the bats.

According to a Natura Impact Statement submitted with the application: “Robust and effective mitigation measures have been proposed during the construction and operational stages of the project for the avoidance of impacts to Lough Hoe Bog SAC (Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive) and the River Moy SAC.

“The implementation of best practice and construction design measures and site-specific mitigation, in particular those mitigation and design measures outlined for all bat species, will avoid potential impacts to lesser horseshow bat.

“The proposed drainage and wastewater treatment processes will ensure that potential impacts to the receiving environment will not receive untreated wastewater,” the impact statement reads.

A submission – signed by 20 local residents – called on the County Council to ensure the development is not inappropriate given the remote location “distant from services in the local towns and villages” and that it would not increase the risk of an accident on the narrow country road which serves it.

Locals also had concerns that it could negatively impact on the Special Area of Conservation, and whether there would be sufficient capacity in the water supply system.

A submission from the operator of the Teaghlach Uilinn nursing home in Moycullen noted that their 77-bed nursing home has been “well below capacity” over the last number of years.

“There has been a decline in residents over a period which we believe to be attributable to having more than an adequate supply of beds in the vicinity and also the increased prevalence of homecare services.”

The submission also points out that Mowlam Healthcare operate a 54-bed nursing home in Moycullen, and a third would render one of the three nursing homes economically unviable in the short-term.

“Whilst the narrative is that the country is short of nursing home beds, this is true based on the CSO statistics, but this only applies to large urban areas and specific rural locations. Moycullen currently has a nursing home capacity that is thirteen times the national average.

Mowlam Healthcare objected to the Council on the grounds that the development is located on the shoreline of Ross Lake and to allow it to proceed “would represent a complete disregard for this water resource” and pointing out the local authority has a duty to preserve the character of the local landscape.

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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