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Galway lifeboat back on the seas after high-tech refit

Enda Cunningham



The Galway RNLI’s lifeboat, Binny, is back on the water after undergoing a €100,000 re-fit with the latest in life-saving technology.

Situated on the Dun Aengus docks, the Galway branch of the RNLI have gone about their work for almost 22 years providing an essential, and at times, a live-saving service to those in distress.

Lifeboat Mike Swan

Galway RNLI Operations Manager Mike Swan

They recently received a routine upgrade of their boat, ‘Binny’ and Operations Manager, Mike Swan says the Atlantic 85 model is now in tip-top shape for any challenges it may face in the next few years.

“In the refit they strip the boat right down, and basically build it as if it was brand new again. Any new advances in technology or any aides that might help in the search and rescue of craft or people are put on the boat.

“There’d be about 100 boats in the whole fleet spread around Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Every five or six years our boat will go back for a refit.

“You’re looking at two new engines, a new navigation system, and a new chart plotter.’’

Mr Swan revealed the funding for the refit came entirely from public donations. It means that the boat is always ready to go at a moment’s notice, which is especially important given they may need to help other units.

“We’re lucky in Galway Bay in that we have the Aran Islands and they have an all-weather boat. In the south of the bay over in Doolin, there’s a coastguard unit and also in Ros a’ Mhíl there’s a coastguard unit.

“If there’s an incident we can go to help them, likewise, which has happened many a time, the coastguard units have come in and aided us.

“We work really as a team, all the agencies, and we work very close together and we do a lot of training together and it pays dividends.’’

The unit had 23 launches last year although some of these consisted of several trips on the water. The Galway crew was also involved in the rescue of 14 people. It can be challenging for the volunteer group, but it’s something that they are very happy to do.

“You never know what’s going to come across your path. One year you could be busy, the next you could be very quiet, but we average in the 20s for launches. It’s diverse really, you don’t know what you’re going to get or when it might happen.

“We are totally voluntary. We have a team of about 25 but people are working and people are away. So to keep it going, that basically you’re on call ready to go 365, is great for the city.’’


Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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