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Connacht Tribune

Galway county towns see rise in commercial vacancies

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Up to half of all commercial premises in towns around County Galway are lying empty, as rural areas continue to feel the effects of the country’s economic collapse.

And commercial rates, lack of bank lending and major superstores are seen as the key reasons for the huge vacancy rate.

Vacancy rates in Clifden can hit as high as 50%, while the likes of Gort, Tuam, Claregalway and Headford are averaging around 40%. That compares to an overall rate of around 14% in Galway City.

Auctioneer Martin Tyrrell told the Connacht Tribune that the biggest problem for towns like Tuam and Headford are superstores and declining populations.

“It’s a very difficult market. You’d be looking at around 40% vacant. A glaring factor is the growth of major superstores and supermarkets who are bleeding the lifeblood out of all the smaller operators. They just cannot compete, and that’s not unique to Ireland, it’s worldwide.

“Add in rates and all the overheads and banks not lending, and it’s just not viable. There is a reluctance and fear out there,” said Mr Tyrrell.

Meanwhile, in Claregalway, auctioneer David Moggan tells a similar story: “There’s not a whole lot of new business here, and the vacancy rate would be about 40%. Banks are telling us they’re lending, but I beg to differ. It’s not as easy as the banks are making out.

“Rates are a big killer. I can see more and more landlords with empty units – one time they would only be interested in long-term leases (25 years), now they’ll let you in for a year,” said Mr Moggan.

Colm Farrell, an auctioneer in Gort, believes there are too many obstacles to setting up businesses in county towns, and even larger operators are worried.

“There are no incentives, it’s all red tape, and rates are the biggest issue,” he said.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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