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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

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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