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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway United away to Athlone Town side that could be dark horses for the title

Keith Kelly

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Galway United players run on to the pitch before the start of last Friday evening’s SSE Airtricity League First Division game against Shelbourne at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United make the short spin across the M6 this evening for a trip to Lissywollen (7.45pm) to take on an Athlone Town side that put their title credentials on display last weekend when twice coming from behind to secure a 2-2 draw away to UCD.

Speaking at various times in the weeks up to the start of the new season, United manager John Caulfield paid particular mention of Athlone Town being a side that could be a dark horse for the title this season, given the investment the Midlands club has made in its squad in the off-season. Now he will get to see at first-hand just what kind of a shape the league’s oldest club is in for the campaign ahead.

“There are about six or seven clubs that all think they are going to go up this season, but there is only one guaranteed place. Athlone have invested heavily, and they will fancy themselves to win,” says the United manager.

“They had a great result last weekend against UCD, that 2-2 draw – the players that started that game for them, they are 11 new players, not one of them was at the club last season. Lots of clubs went out and invested in new players, and particularly Athlone, they’ve added a lot of quality,” says Caulfield.

The Midlands side secured a point in Belfield last weekend thanks to a goal four minutes into injury-time from Adam Wixted, and Caulfield name-checks him, along with the likes of Dylan Hand, who signed from Longford Town, James Doona (St Patrick’s Athletic), Kurtis Byrne (Waterford United), Stephen Meaney (Drogheda United), and former United player Kilian Cantwell (Bray Wanderers), as well as Micheal Schlingermann, United’s goalkeeper last season, as an example of the kind of quality Athlone Town have added for the 2021 campaign.

“Look at the Shelbourne side the last night – we played them in the cup last year, and only three players from that team were in the side last Friday. Every team has gone out and added a lot of strength, everyone is targeting that one automatic promotion spot,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island

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Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.

A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.

Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.

It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.

Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.

Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.

It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.

In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”

It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.

“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.

“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”

Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.

The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Detractors’ could hold up €10m Spanish Arch flood defence scheme

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has warned that the Office of Public Works and Galway City Council “may end up in the High Court” if they attempt to expedite plans for the €10 million flood defence scheme for the Spanish Arch and Docks areas.

Speaking at an Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting last week, the Minister for the Office of Public Works admitted his frustration at the length of time such projects take.

But he said that if he and the OPW attempted to “shave off time” in moving the project forwards, they would have to be mindful of “detractors” making accusations later and there being a legal challenge.

He was responding to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell, who said it was likely to be 2028 before the flood prevention works would be completed.

“It was revealed in November that it will be at least eight years before long-awaited flood defences are completed in the Spanish Arch and Docks areas – with the City Council estimating that it will be towards the end of 2028 before works conclude,” said Deputy Farrell.

Minister O’Donovan said: “The OPW is committed. There is money available. We do not have a worry about allocating money for capital spending. I say to Deputy Farrell, and to Galway City Council, that, if we can shave off time in advancing projects, we will gladly do so, but we have to be mindful of the fact that if our detractors make accusations later, we may end up in the High Court. We do not want that.”

(Photo: Flood Street in February 2014. Spanish Arch, Fishmarket Square and the Docks areas were flooded in storm weather during high tide. PHOTO BY JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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