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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Pony Clubs on the rise again after period in doldrums

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Members of East Galway Hunt Pony Club in Ballinasloe enjoying their training at the local Showgrounds

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

Ater a fall-off in numbers participating in pony clubs during the economic downturn, the sport has begun to grow again much to the delight of those involved, particularly those engaged in the plethora of pony clubs in Galway.

One of those is Ruth Waldron who is District Commissioner for the Ballinasloe-based East Galway Hunt Pony Club – Waldron explaining her ‘District Commissioner’ title, and role, is basically the equivalent of a club chairperson.

“You would be dealing with the same things such as Garda vetting, all the child protection courses and all the committee duties, so it is just the admin side to it,” she says.

It is a busy time for Waldron and Galway’s pony clubs at present. At the beginning of the month, they held their area finals – in which all the Galway clubs took part – while in late July the winners from that event will go on to compete at the Irish Pony Club Festival 2018.

Waldron explains there will be a large representation from Galway travelling to the national championship finals in Barnadown Equestrian Centre in County Wexford between Thursday, July 26, and Saturday, July 28, including a number of teams competing at U12 and U14 levels. Among the disciplines riders will be competing in are showjumping, dressage and mounted games.

For East Galway Hunt Pony Club’s part, Waldron is hopeful they can contribute to some Galway success. “Please God. We had a decent enough run of it last year. Our Robert Bailey team came third in the nationals and we are hoping we might do something again this year. But, sure, we will go and enjoy it anyway.”

Many would perceive being involved in a pony club is all about sho jumping but nothing could be further from the truth. Waldron outlines there is now such a variety, with their members investigating other avenues of the sport as they get older, such as dressage, eventing and the increasingly popular modern pentathlon.

“You might be familiar with Pentathlon as it is an Olympic sport,” continues Waldron. “There are five disciplines in that. There is a run, a shoot, swim, fencing and then they have the cross country on the ponies. In pony club now, we have a three-phase competition and that would be a run, swim and cross-country riding on the pony.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.

The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.

“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.

He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.

Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.

The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.

Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.

Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.

He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.

“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.

“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.

In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.

Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place

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The helipad on the former Shantalla pitch.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
BY ANDREW HAMILTON
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.

Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.

The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.

Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.

Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.

Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.

Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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