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CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí probe emergence of neo-Nazi group in Galway

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The rise of an apparent neo-Nazi group, called ‘Galway 44’, is being investigated by Gardaí after local equality activists raised it as a cause for concern.

The group, which has a Facebook page under the pseudonym ‘Tír Na nÓg’ is spreading a Neo-Nazi message around Galway City; in particular, the West End and Salthill.

“The group use neo-Nazi symbols to spread their message. They often use numbers such as 44 which represents the letters DD, this is code for ‘descend decency’. The number 88 is another common Nazi symbol; it stands for the letters HH – code for ‘Heil Hitler’ said Social Democrats representative Niall Ó Tuathail.

The Gardaí confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that they are investigating “Galway 44″.

Mr Ó Tuathail, who stood in the General Elections in 2016, said: “We’re working with the Gardaí. There is an ongoing investigation into the group’s activities such as: spreading stickers with the logo ‘Galway 44’, graffiti and the setting up of a Facebook page.

“The Facebook page used to be ‘Galway 44’, but they have since changed to ‘Tír Na nÓg’.

“We have been aware of the group’s activities for roughly four or five months now. I have been contacted by both individuals and [activists] groups about ‘Galway 44’.

Gardaí in Mill Street have told the Galway City Tribune, that they are following up all possibilities into the attack on the Ahmadiyya Mosque. However, there is not clear link that the attack was carried out by a group such as Galway 44.

The Gardaí confirmed that they are investigating Galway 44, but at this stage, the group’s activities have been limited to stickering, graffiti and posting messages on Facebook.

Joe Loughnane, campaign chairman for the Galway Anti-Racism Network (GARN) explained how GARN identified and addressed the Graffiti and stickering of the West End. “We were informed of the anti-refugee and racist graffiti and stickering that was going on around the west end of the city.

“Galway 44 seems to have an association with other groups such as PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamitisation of the West), but they are more a Dublin-based movement,” he said.

“We did a community clean-up to get rid of all the stickers and graffiti. In the past month, we haven’t seen any more of this activity.

“We think the problem has been quelled because we identified it early and we nipped it in the bud,” said Mr Loughnane.
For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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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