Galway continues to be the preferred base for global companies investing in Ireland because it meets their ‘rigorous criteria’, according to IDA Ireland.
And with Galway’s reputation as the ‘location of choice’ for such companies being boosted over the past year, the IDA is optimistic that further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be attracted in 2019.
New arrivals to Galway and existing companies undergoing expansion here saw the announcement of 775 new jobs in 2018.
And a further positivity indicator is that Government figures show there were a total of 42 IDA-sponsored site visits to County Galway by potential investors up to the end of September 2018 (which is the most up-to-date figure available).
The counties with more site visits were Dublin (209 for the same period) and Cork at 45. The next highest numbers of visits on the list were Limerick at 25 and Westmeath at 18.
The IDA’s Regional Business Development Manager for the West Region, Catherina Blewitt, said: “It’s been an extremely positive year again for Galway, and particularly Galway City, in terms of FDI.
“Galway’s reputation as a location of choice for global companies grew in 2018 with the arrival of companies like Genesys, Quidel and SOTI Inc and expansions announced by established companies Wayfair, MathWorks and Mazars.
“Galway has delivered expansions and also announced new investment this year.
“It’s proof that new companies continue to see Galway as an excellent location while it’s a vote of confidence and commitment to Galway and testament to the success of their operations here from established companies.
“We have shown that we can meet the rigorous criteria required by global companies seeking to invest in Ireland; we have the skilled workers, connectivity, excellent third-level institutes and the required level of infrastructure and services they look to for a pipeline of skills, coupled with a robust and supportive business culture.
“Our collaboration with other stakeholders continued in 2018, we supported the development of new infrastructure such as the N6 Galway Ring Road, developments like the Bonham Quay project and other planned commercial developments currently in the planning process such as those proposed for Ballybane and Mervue.
“We also supported projects for Galway that received funding under the Rural and Urban Regeneration funding announced recently; the Portershed, Nuns Island, Sandy Road and infrastructure upgrades on the east of the city.
“For our part, in providing the necessary property solutions to attract investment, we have recently completed construction of a new Advance Office Building of 45,000 square foot in Parkmore, delivered through the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model.
“Planning permission for an Advance Building Solution in Parkmore, was recently secured from Galway County Council and is currently going through the tender process. IDA also works closely with the private sector to secure the provision of appropriate and cost-effective solutions suitable for FDI clients. We look forward to continuing our progress in 2019,” said Ms Blewitt.
Silicon Valley tech firm Genesys announced in November that it would create 200 new technology jobs in Galway over three years, making it one of the largest artificial intelligence development centres in Ireland.
Ms Blewitt said: “In October, the mobile and ‘Internet of Things’ device management solutions company SOTI Inc. reinforced its commitment to growing its Ireland operations as a European tech hub with the announcement of its new Galway office. Fifty new jobs are being created immediately with a further 100 to be created over the next three years.
“The Quidel Corporation, a provider of rapid diagnostic testing solutions and molecular diagnostic systems, announced plans in February to set up operations in Galway, creating 75 jobs over five years. It’s the company’s first expansion into international facilities. In June the company officially opened its new Business Service Centre.”
She said that growth in existing companies came from online home furnishings retailer Wayfair; MathWorks, a developer of mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists and in the audit, tax and advisory firm Mazars.
“Supporting our existing companies to grow and develop is a key focus for us. Wayfair celebrated the 10th anniversary of its multi-lingual European Operations Centre in Galway with news that it is to expand its workforce across the country through the launch of a virtual 200 strong workforce.
“MathWorks, which established a shared sales and services centre in Galway in 2016 announced in recent days that it is to hire an additional 70 people.
“Mazars officially opened its new Galway office and announced its intention to create up to 30 new jobs over a three-year period, doubling the office headcount,” she said,
Ms Blewitt also pointed to other success stories in Galway which are supported by IDA Ireland.
“One great example is Thermo King Ingersoll Rand, who manufacture refrigeration and heating units for the transport sector. They employ 680 people. They recently invested €50m in an expansion of their plant to increase capacity and, as a result, are currently recruiting for 50 new engineering roles. “They are a really innovative company and are leading the way in technology and robotics, growing their automation skills at the plant.”
Elsewhere in the county, she said, “our client base has performed well in terms of their operational sustainability, job retention and we continue to work closely with them, supporting them in their transformation and development”.
Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars
Five large Garda stations in County Galway are operating with fewer Garda vehicles now than two years ago – leading to a call for the local fleet to be restored to 2020 levels.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed to Galway West TD Noel Grealish that the Garda fleet in the Galway Garda Division stands at 116 as of October of this year.
That’s greater than any of the years from 2012 to 2019, but it represents a reduction on the Garda fleet when compared with 2020 and 2021 figures.
Galway Gardaí had a dozen fewer vehicles this year, compared with 2020. There are 13 fewer patrol cars, down from 96 to 83; there was no change in the number of vans and motorcycles, and the division acquired one extra 4×4.
Garda stations in Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam, Clifden and Salthill have all lost patrol cars in the past 24 months, according to the official figures.
Independent Deputy Grealish has demanded a restoration of the Garda fleet in Galway to 2020 levels.
“Gardaí have a demanding enough job to do, but it makes that important work even more difficult if they are not allocated the proper resources,” Deputy Grealish said.
“A reduction of twelve vehicles in less than two years across the Galway Division, down from 128 at the end of 2020 to 116 in October this year, is concerning.
“I have asked the Minister for Justice to explain why this has happened, that the number of vehicles in the Galway Division has fallen by ten per cent, when nationally the total fleet actually increased by 6%. I am demanding that they at the very least be restored to their 2020 levels,” he said.
Deputy Grealish pointed out that almost all areas of the county had suffered a reduction in Garda vehicles since the beginning of last year. Ballinasloe currently has six vehicles, a reduction of two since the end of 2020; Clifden also has six, down one; Loughrea was down three to eleven; Salthill was down three to ten; the biggest reduction in Garda vehicles was in the Tuam area down five to twelve.
Galway City’s fleet increased by two vehicles, for a total of 71.
Minister McEntee said that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including the purchase, allocation, and effective and efficient use of Garda vehicles.
“As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review to ensure their optimum use in light of identified operational needs and emerging crime trends,” she added.
Galway City Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) last month complained that the number of vehicles available to Gardaí in Salthill and Knocknacarra was insufficient.
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later