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Greenway lobby gets right back to business

Declan Tierney

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The end of the General Election battle has triggered a renewed campaign to provide a walking and cycling greenway on the rail corridor from Athenry to Tuam and further north towards Sligo.

And their hopes were buoyed by comments from freshly returned Deputy Ciaran Cannon who said that the provision of a walking and cycling greenway was the only way in which to preserve the integrity of the line into the future.

He warned that the worst case scenario would be for the existing rail track to fall into private ownership in the future – which, he said, could feasibly happen if the railway line was not being used.

The Athenry TD said that, regardless of who was in power next week and regardless of who is the new Transport Minister, the provision of the greenway has to take top priority.

Deputy Cannon said that it would be the most cost effective greenway that would be provided in the whole of Europe because it would not involve the compulsory acquisition of land.

“If the new government lasts full term, then I hope that the groundwork for the provision of a greenway from Athenry all the way to Sligo will be at an advanced stage. The economic benefits to towns like Athenry and Tuam outweigh the cost involved in constructing the cycle path.

“Apart from that it would showcase some of the most valuable assets we have in Galway including Ballyglunin Railway Station which has been restored by a tremendous local committee. It would be a crying shame if hundreds of thousands of people did not seek the work that has been carried out,” Deputy Cannon added.

However, newly-elected TD for Galway East Sean Canney is not convinced. He said that he has absolutely no objection to walking and cycling greenways but he would oppose it being provided on the Western Rail Corridor.

Deputy Canney is of the opinion that if a greenway is provided along the railway track, it will ultimately result in a train service never being provided. The outgoing Transport Minister Paschal Donohue has repeatedly said that it would not be a viable option.

The most recent train service from Athenry to Ennis is loss making and it is doubtful if any government will pump millions into a rail service between Athenry and Tuam.

Tuam’s Cllr Shaun Cunniffe said that he was delighted that Deputy Cannon was making the greenway one of his priorities and has now intends inviting the Fine Gael TD to a meeting in Tuam to progress the plan.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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