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Galway City status downgraded to ‘moderately littered’ in survey

Enda Cunningham



Galway City Tribune – Galway City has lost its status as a ‘clean’ city in a survey of 40 towns and cities across Ireland.

The survey found that the Millennium Children’s Park behind Galway Cathedral was “completely destroyed by graffiti on every available surface”, while the river walk at Canal Road was also found to be heavily littered.

The city has now been branded ‘moderately littered’, along with Tralee, Carlow, Dublin City Centre, Navan and Mahon in Cork City in the latest study carried out by An Taisce on behalf of IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) – it had only regained its litter-free status last September.

Ballybane – which was classed as a town for the purposes of the survey – was branded as ‘littered’ and came in at Number 38 in the league table. The Fana Glas estate was found to have “persistent litter”, while one side of St Brigid’s Church was subject to dumping.

The report found that Galway is lagging behind most other cities, having improved just three months earlier.

“It is disappointing to see this important tourist destination again slip to moderately littered having improved earlier in the year – it is lagging behind most other cities. The Courthouse and environs and Town Hall Theatre and environs were both much improved but still somewhat littered.

“The Millennium Children’s Playground was completely destroyed by graffiti on every available surface, including a piece of sculpture,” the report reads.

What the judges said:

N17 Approach: Grade B. This was generally a clean and welcoming approach to Galway City with built-up industrial and commercial estates on both sides of the road. It was somewhat littered closer to the city and this took away from an otherwise well-presented environment.

Bóthar na dTreabh: Grade A. (From Tuam Road junction to Kirwan roundabout). All appeared in good order along this route.  The planting was an attractive feature and the overall impression was of a clean and tidy environment.

University Hospital Galway: Grade A. The grounds of the hospital were in very good order – e.g. signage, planting, bins, low-lying shrubbery. The overall impression created here was a very positive one.

Carpark at UHG: Grade A. Overall, the carpark was presented well. The surface was in good condition and there was a virtual absence of litter.

NUIG: Grade A. The campus was in excellent order. Not only was there a complete absence of litter throughout the extensive area surveyed, but the whole area was exceptionally well-presented and maintained.  The mature grounds and buildings were in very good order. The litter bins were designed so that one side was for ‘general waste’ and the other was for recycling plastics, paper, cardboard and tin cans.

NUIG O’Donoghue Centre and Bridge: Grade A. The general environs of the building, including the bridge were in very good order, with a virtual absence of litter.

Eglinton Canal Walk: Grade C. This waterside environment was very much let down by heavy levels of alcohol-related litter. There was plenty of broken glass underfoot and cans had been stuck into the wall. Graffiti was also a feature at this site.

Millennium Children’s Park: Grade C. This city centre park has been destroyed by graffiti on every conceivable surface e.g. signage at entrance, Council visitor information notice board (which was devoid of any notices), litter bin, public toilets, skateboard park and even on the sculpture. There were some sweet papers. The grass/planted areas were in very good condition.

Galway Cathedral: Grade A. The Cathedral and area immediately surrounding it were spotless. The railings, paving, raised planted area, ramp signage etc. were all in excellent order. The carpark was in very good order, creating a positive impression throughout. It was clean, tidy and completely free of litter.

Courthouse: Grade B. There was a marked improvement and this time around it just missed getting the top litter grade. Some food related litter (fast-food wrappers, sweet papers, coffee cups and cans) and occasional cigarette-related litter took away from an otherwise very nicely presented environment – the building, paving, ornamental trees, railings etc. were all in excellent order.

Town Hall Theatre: Grade B. With a little extra care and attention this site could easily get the top litter grade. Cigarette-related litter was pronounced, along with plastic bottles and plastic bags.  The overall impression was quite a good one in terms of presentation.

St Nicholas Parochial School: Grade A. This school had the appearance of a lovingly-tended environment. Seats were brightly painted, spiral staircase was adorned with colourful bunting and hand and footprints decorated another wall surface.  Overall, it was a top-ranking site with a complete absence of litter throughout.

Waterside/Rowing Club: Grade C. The riverwalk along the banks adjacent to the club mooring was well cared for and almost entirely free of litter. However, there was a wide variety of litter in the water at a corner area – this area of water had limited flow, resulting in ‘trapped’ litter and scum/slime on the water’s surface.

Waterside (Woodquay): Grade A. The overall impression at this city centre residential area was a good one with well-tended gardens and a virtual absence of litter. There was a derelict site with overgrown weeds, but no major litter accumulations.

Waterside park: Grade A. A small city centre park with mature trees and well-maintained grass.  It was pretty clean with regard to litter but three benches within the park were completely broken.

Dyke Road Carpark: Grade C. The main surface area of the car park was in very good condition and clear of litter. It was the perimeter area, which was heavily-weeded and had trapped litter which brought down the litter grade. The majority of the litter was food-related. Signage relating to car park was in very good condition.

Recycle bank at Dyke Road: Grade B. The bins were mostly quite clean and presented well. It was the broken glass along the base of the bins and bottle tops/lids in the low-lying shrubbery which brought down the overall litter grade.

IMC Cinema: Grade B. The IMC building and environs were beginning to look tired with an unsightly black mould/fungus on one wall of the building. Much of the red paint on the railing had worn away and the black litter bin was very grubby. Chewing gum was pronounced, with lower levels of sweet papers and cigarette butts.

Galway Retail Park: Grade A. The colourful planting in this retail park was welcome in such a built-up environment. Many of the ‘older’ style of litter bins were in very poor condition, grubby and with the notices worn away. The newer bins were generally much fresher in appearance. Signage, paving, planted areas and general environment were in good order.

St. Brendan’s Avenue: Grade A. This street with a mix of terraced houses and apartments was generally in good order. The pavement on one side was subsiding. The road surface and markings and signage were in good order.

Eyre Square: Grade B. With a little extra care and attention this significant city centre site could easily get the top litter grade.  The litter was most pronounced at the steps. It was very well-presented and maintained.

Abbeygate Street, Lower: Grade A. This pedestrianised city centre shopping street presented very well with attractive paving and shop fronts.

Meanwhile, Ballybane had a very disappointing result in the survey, coming 38th out of 40 towns and cities (for the purposes of the survey, it was classed as a town).

Ballybane had two blackspots, after a great showing early in 2017.

The survey stated that most of its moderately littered sites could easily get the top litter grade with a little extra care and attention. These included areas such as East United Football Club, Ballybane Road, GMIT and Ballybane Shopping Centre.

However, the Fána Glas housing estate was a blackspot, as was the area around St Brigid’s Church.

East United Football Club earned a Grade B and just missed the top grade. The club building, forecourt and enclosed play area were excellent. Food-related litter and plywood sheeting took away from an otherwise very well-maintained environment.

Glenavon Drive, a residential area consisting of six semi-detached houses, received a Grade A. It was in very good order with a virtual absence of litter.

Castlepark, Numbers 1-16 and 278-339, received a Grade C.  The estate was mixed with regard to litter, according to the survey. Houses 1-16 were almost litter free. The higher house numbers in one were in much better condition, while the mid- to lower-house numbers had considerable litter.

St Brigid’s Church was deemed Grade D. It was mostly clean and well-maintained. However, bags of rubbish were strewn about an area which is highly visible to anybody using the car-park.

Fána Glas also received a Grade D. Horse dung, old clothes, plastic wrapping and carpets were present, as was graffiti. Some houses were well cared for but many were not. A boarded-up house had site-security notices.

Illegal dumping in Fana Glas.

Rocklands Avenue, a moderately littered residential area which had food-related litter and plastic wrapping, got a Grade B.

Ballybane Shopping Centre got a Grade B, and the survey stated that with a little extra attention it could get the top grade.  Chewing gum was an issue, as were graffiti and moss and grubby litter bins.  The high number of closed and vacant outlets create a ‘shuttered’ environment.

The recycle facility at Ballybane Shopping Centre was in excellent order and got an A grade for clean bins and a total absence of litter.

Ballybane Road got Grade B. One area near the shopping centre was littered with coffee cups, plastic bottles, fast-food wrappers and sweet papers.

GMIT also got Grade B.  Its overall presentation was excellent, but some food-related litter was found in the shrubbery at the road front – otherwise, it would have been a top site.


City Council’s conference call ‘eavesdropper’

Dara Bradley



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway City Council, like the rest of us, is adapting to the new reality of life under Covid-19 restrictions.

There haven’t been any face-to-face City Council meetings, be they full meetings or committee meetings, since the crisis really hit.

But that doesn’t mean elected members and management are twiddling their thumbs. Far from it – they’re busier than ever, just a different sort of busy.

Last Wednesday evening, city councillors held a conference call with Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.

Members of his management team were also involved in the meeting, which was conducted using technology that allows people to ‘attend’ a meeting online from the comfort of their own homes.

Each member is invited to the virtual meeting through a link sent to their email account. They click into this and then they are ‘in’ the meeting and can speak and see the others, also attending remotely.

A reliable deep-throat who participated in Wednesday’s chat informs us that the meeting had to be stopped – at the behest of McGrath – and restarted, over fears someone was eavesdropping.

The suspicion is that the link to join the meeting was sent to someone it shouldn’t have been, and this person attempted to listen in.

“Brendan halted the meeting and we had to hang up and start again because a mystery man was listening-in on the teleconference. It was hacked but Brendan has the number and can find out who it was,” said one source.

If the standard of debate at the tele-conference was anything like some of the drivel you can get at some ordinary Council meetings, then the conference-blocked hacker didn’t miss much!

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

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Salthill’s ‘Heart of Hope’ a beacon of light for frontline workers

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A giant illuminated heart has been erected on the Big Wheel at Curry’s Funpark in Leisureland as a poignant symbol of hope and expression of gratitude for the country’s healthcare workers.

Last month, preparations got underway to set up the fun fair, but it became yet another casualty of Covid-19. Owner Owen Curry got to work on constructing a blue ‘Heart of Hope, An Croí Gorm’ with LED lights to attach to the 120-foot wheel overlooking the Prom.

Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, he had the heart in place on the axle of the Big Wheel within a day.

“I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab technicians and everybody working in the health service how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis.

“When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid air over the Prom,” he said.

Without advertising revenue and people buying the paper, this website would not be here. To buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95, click HERE. Thanks for your support.

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ICU consultant reveals intensive planning ahead of peak Covid demand

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A consultant in critical care at Galway’s biggest hospital has assured the public that there is still significant capacity for very ill patients fighting Covid-19.

But to help University Hospital Galway best cope with the expected surge in numbers within the next two weeks, Consultant Intensivist John Bates has pleaded with the public to follow the strict public health guidelines about staying at home.

“There’s been a lot going on – a lot of retraining, a lot of redeployment, a lot of up-equipping. We normally have twelve ventilator beds and we’re up to 24 at this stage and have significant capacity. We’re working to get beyond that but we certainly have capacity at the moment,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

Asked if the hospital would be able to cope with the peak of the pandemic – tipped to hit in the next fortnight – he said there were no guarantees.

“It depends on the size of the surge. We can’t say for sure how big the surge will be. It’s a new disease and models of how it will go are different – in some we will be okay and others we will struggle,” Dr Bates said.

“The curve appears to be flattening. Dublin is starting to come under pressure accessing critical care beds. It’s likely we will at some stage here too. But we have good capacity at this stage.”

The number of healthcare workers who will likely be affected by the pandemic has been factored into the hospital’s readiness plans. In China, ten per cent of critical care staff were out of action while in Italy it has reached 20 per cent.

Despite the high risks facing hospital staff, Dr Bates believes morale at UHG is good.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of the coronavirus impact on Galway, buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95 HERE. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying our papers, this website would not be here. Thanks for your support!

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