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Gardaí probe suspected arson at former hotel

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Corrib GSH fire

A Garda technical examination was carried out yesterday morning following the second suspected arson at the Corrib Great Southern Hotel in five months.
The fire broke out on the fourth floor on Wednesday afternoon but one unit of the Galway Fire Brigade soon had the blaze under control.
Yesterday morning, a forensic team carried out a technical examination of the scene – this time the fire was contained to some bedrooms on the fourth floor. Last March the blaze caused extensive damage to bedrooms on the third and fourth floor.
Councillor Michael Crowe has called on the owners of the derelict building, developers, the Comer Brothers to secure the site to put a stop to young people getting in there.
“I have said it already, months ago, that this building should be secured by the owners before anyone is seriously injured or worse.
“There’s easy access into the derelict hotel through the lower levels and I have seen youngsters in there myself when I went onsite to see how they were getting in.
“I spoke to the owners but they did a patch job, it wasn’t enough as is obvious with this second fire on the premises this week.
“I have had representations from residents in Woodhaven nearby about the state of the site and the building. It’s not good enough for the Comer Brothers to be earning goodwill in the city by sponsoring the Galway soccer team and, on the other hand, allowing one of the properties to become an eyesore like this, causing grief to local people,” said Cllr Crowe.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.


Council on standby for Storm Jorge flooding

Enda Cunningham



Galway City Council crews will be on standby from Saturday afternoon as Storm Jorge is set to hit the West coast, bringing very strong winds, rain and potential for flooding.

The Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team met today and will be holding meetings tomorrow and Saturday to monitor the weather forecast and put in place a plan to deal with any potential flooding or wind damage.

Storm Jorge – which was named by Spanish meteorological services and adopted by Met Éireann and the UK’s Met Office to avoid confusion – will see a Status Orange wind warning in place from 6am Saturday to 3am Sunday. A Status Yellow rain warning will be in place in Galway from midnight tonight until midnight Saturday.

The storm will bring southwest, veering west and later northwest winds with means speeds of 65-80km/h and gusts of 110-130km/h.

Rainfall accumulations of 20 to 30mm are expected and Met Éireann has warned of an increased risk of coastal flooding.

The City Council will have crews on standby from 2pm on Saturday and will close the two public carparks in Salthill if it is considered necessary.

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Connacht Tribune

Council staff under pressure from worsening flooding

Enda Cunningham



A lack of local authority outdoor staff available to deal with the huge rainfall level over the past week has led to the closure of roads around County Galway, it was claimed this week.

At a meeting of Galway County Council on Monday, a senior local authority official admitted that staff have been ‘stretched’.

Rising water tables and heavy rainfall has resulted in road closures around the county, but according to the Council, there are no houses under threat at the moment.

Iarnród Éireann has also introduced bus transfers on the Galway-Limerick line because of rising water levels at Kiltartan.

The volume of rainfall resulted in road closures, while flooding on the N83 (the old N17) between Tuam and Galway resulted in three-mile tailbacks at Two Mile Ditch – journey times were more than two hours in some cases.

Cllr Joe Byrne told the Council meeting this week that there are not enough outdoor staff on the ground to keep the water tables at a level that would not require roads to be closed.

He was supported by Cllr Jim Cuddy, who said that workers with spades and shovels were required to keep the water tables under control and there was a need to increase outdoor staff at this time of year.

The Independent councillor said that he had heard of some people being stuck in traffic for three hours as they approached the city from the Headford Road and Tuam Road directions.

However, Council Director of Services for Infrastructure, Jim Cullen, said that all of the outdoor staff vacancies had been filled.

Mr Cullen explained that the number of outdoor staff employed by the Council was dependent on the roads budget made available to the local authority on an annual basis.

Council Senior Executive Engineer Damien Mitchell explained that their staff had been stretched over recent days in what where very difficult conditions.

“Nobody has been found wanting. It is not easy,” Mr Mitchell admitted.

(Picture shows a generator being brought to a house at Cloonacauneen this week to help pump flood waters. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY)
This is a preview only. To read extensive coverage of the flooding around the county (including photographs), see this week’s Connacht Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

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Connacht Tribune

Council pays €3m for land for social housing in Claregalway

Declan Tierney



Galway County Council has forked out almost €3 million – more than €400,000 per acre – for development land in Claregalway which it has earmarked for social and affordable housing.

At a local authority meeting this week, some councillors expressed disbelief at the amount paid by the Council for the 7.2 acres.

Local elected representatives expressed frustration and annoyance that they had not been made aware of the purchase until after the deal was done.

Director of Services for Housing, Michael Owens, told a meeting of the County Council on Monday that the lands had been acquired on the open market in the townland Droim na Gaoithe and this will be development for social and affordable housing. He said that a valuer had been engaged for this purpose.

An irate Cllr Jim Cuddy said that as the most local elected representative, he was not aware of the land acquisition. He said that he was not aware of when it was purchased or how much had been paid for it.

The Independent councillor said that the population increase experienced in Claregalway in recent years required the provision of a playground, while he added that there was an urgent need for additional cemetery space as there were just two plots remaining in the existing graveyard.

“It is crazy that more than €406,000 an acre was spent on land for a housing scheme [affordable housing] that doesn’t exist. The County Council would have serious questions to ask if this matter came before a Dáil Public Accounts Committee,” Cllr Cuddy said.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. Buy a digital edition of the paper here.

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