Galway Leisureland swimming pool is set to re-open in early October, its board of directors confirmed at the weekend.
The popular facility has been closed since January due to damage caused in the severe Winter storms and there were fears that it could be January 2015 before it reopened to the public again.
However, following a board meeting on Friday, it was confirmed that it is on course to be up and running again by October.
There was a ‘full and frank’ exchange of views between a five-person delegation from the sports clubs that use the facility regularly, and members of the board, at a meeting that followed the board meeting on Friday.
City Council Director of Services, Tom Connell, also brought the delegation on a tour of the swimming pool and dressing rooms so that they could see firsthand the extent of the damage.
“To be honest, it’s like a bomb hit the place,” said Fianna Fáil City Councillor, Peter Keane, a member of the board.
“I think the meeting was very worthwhile and the tour of the facility gave the clubs an indication of the sheer scale of the damage that was caused to the swimming pool. It’s easy for people to criticise but they haven’t a clue what’s going on and they don’t realise the extent of the damage caused. It really is like a first fix of a new house, or even before that, there’s wiring everywhere and the tiling is all over the place and plastering isn’t done. It’s a mess but we have given an undertaking that it will be ready by October, which is ahead of the January schedule that our detractors had put out there.”
Chairman of the board, City Councillor Donal Lyons, in a statement, said board members were critical of the slow progress in having the facility re-opened.
It was pointed out at the meeting that members of the voluntary Board of Management were receiving undue criticism from certain quarters that they were to blame for the delays.
“It was clearly pointed out at the meeting that it was the officials at City Hall, the management of Leisureland and independent consultants appointed by City Hall who were negotiating with the insurance assessors and not the Board of Management,” insisted Cllr Lyons.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Galway is seventh-worst city in Europe for car traffic congestion
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Car traffic congestion in Galway is quickly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, with commuters spending up to 94 hours caught on the city’s gridlocked arteries last year.
According to data compiled by INRIX, a world-leader in mobility data, Galway is the seventh-worst city in Europe for congestion, an 84% increase on its position in 2021.
The data shows that Galway places in the worst 50 cities in the world for congestion – taking 39th place, with Dublin the only other Irish city placing higher at Number 12.
While the figures show that car traffic has not fully returned to pre-Covid levels, the 2022 figures came within 13% of 2019 congestion rates.
This was despite vast numbers continuing to work from home last year, a worrying trend according to the local People Before Profit representative Adrian Curran.
In Cork, Limerick and Dublin, there had been a more lasting effect, showing decreases of 20%, 26% and 29% respectively, he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.
Galway 2020 paid €110,000 for PR while cutting spends on arts events
From this week’s City Tribune – Galway 2020’s bank account statements for five months of 2020 reveal thousands of euro were spent on public relations firms and media advertising when its cultural programme was being cut and ‘revised’ during the upheaval at the onset of Covid-19.
The AIB statements date from April to September of 2020, when Covid-19 had seriously curtailed cultural activities of Galway 2020, the company behind the city and county’s European Capital of Culture. They show more than €110,000 was paid to Dublin-based public relations firm Q4 PR, in three separate payments in April, May and June of 2020.
Thousands more were paid to other public relations firms, radio stations and, to a lesser extent, newspapers.
In March of that year, Galway 2020 announced it was reviewing its programme of events due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Government after a global pandemic was declared, curtailing all events.
On April 7, it confirmed it was laying off staff and had ended its agreement with Helen Marriage and Artichoke which was providing creative direction.
Later that month, it issued statements to say it was exploring a ‘re-imagined’ programme of events to take place at the end of 2020 and 2021.
Although the amounts paid to media and PR companies other than Q4 PR are relatively small, compared with expenditure on other headings, the payments suggest the importance Galway 2020 placed on image and public perception around that time.
The bank statements were released to the Galway City Tribune following a protracted Freedom of Information request and after an appeal to the Office of Information Commissioner.
Many of the payees in the bank statements were redacted but the names of several PR and media organisations are listed as having been paid by Galway 2020.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article with details of the spending, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also coverage of this week’s rebranding and new vision of Galway 2020. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.
Plans for major upgrade of community centre to benefit Mervue
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Plans for a major overhaul of the community centre in the basement of Mervue Church – including activity rooms, a meeting room, training space and a hairdressing salon – have been lodged at City Hall.
It will employ more than 20 people on a full and part-time basis – including Community Employment Scheme workers.
COPE Galway has sought planning permission for a series of changes to the Holy Family Church including alterations to the basement layout; a new main entrance; concrete stairs from the carpark and the reopening of windows at basement level.
“The proposed refurbished and upgraded community centre will provide a vibrant and dynamic space for the community of Mervue. The space will act as a central hub and meeting place which can be used for a variety of community activities, meetings and events,” the application reads.
It notes a series of “typical occupants” including: reception; an information hub; general activity room (arts and crafts, games and light exercise); sensory/meditation room; clinic room for health checks and physiotherapy; space for people with dementia; toilets and shower room; pet therapy area; space for teens/young adults; laundry; hairdressing salon; computer training room; meeting room (with possibility of rental to local groups); small café and kitchen, space for a men’s shed and an outside garden with seating area.
“The centre will also provide employment and will be staffed with a diversity of employees, including Community Employment Scheme workers and volunteers of differing age and other social demographics,” the application reads.
Image: An artist’s impression of the cafe in the proposed centre.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.