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CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí deal with groups of up to 200 teenagers congregating

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One of the areas in Knocknacarra where the groups are meeting.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway’s most senior Garda has appealed to parents to be aware at all times of where their teenage children are, following a series of ‘gatherings’ – of up to 200 people at a time – in the greater Knocknacarra area over recent weeks and months.

BY DARA BRADLEY & FRANCIS FARRAGHER

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told the Galway City Tribune that in what were very trying public health times for everyone, it was vital that all parents played a very much ‘hands-on’ role in terms of supervision and care.

“We are aware of incidents where there have been large gatherings of teenagers in public areas and of course this is completely illegal in terms of the current Level-5 Covid restrictions.

“In these cases, we have increased patrols and have consistently embraced the ‘4 Es’ policy of engaging, explaining, encouraging and as a last resort enforcing the law, in terms of these types of public gatherings,” said Chief Supt Curley.

Between 150 and 200 teenagers are congregating in areas such as scrubland off the Western Distributor Road, Rusheen Woods, McGrath’s Field, Cappagh Park and near the Gaelscoil in Knocknacarra at weekends, according to Chair of the City Joint Policing Committee, Councillor Niall McNelis.

Gardaí confirmed three arrests were made for public order offences last weekend, after reports of teenagers gathering in Knocknacarra.

Cllr McNelis said that many of the children are not from the area, but are being driven there by their parents.

Most of them, he said, are not doing anything criminally wrong per se but they are gathering in contravention of the Covid-19 rules.

A number of them are also engaged in underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, he said.

“This is not a criticism of the Gardaí, but they do not have the resources to be dealing with crowds of 150 or 200 teenagers aged 15, 16 and 17. They are coming to Knocknacarra from all over Galway, and some are from as far away as Athenry.”

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.

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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