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CITY TRIBUNE

High-spec office space approved in Wellpark

Enda Cunningham

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Galway City Council has given the green light for the construction of a high-spec ‘Grade A’ office block in Wellpark.

The plans – which have already received the backing of IDA Ireland – will see the construction of a new building ranging from four to five storeys over a partial basement carpark opposite GMIT’s Cluain Mhuire campus.

Developer and property investor Shaun Hennelly described the project as a “landmark building” in the planning application.

The Council approved the plans to develop the vacant, fenced-off site at 67-71 Wellpark Road – in front of Mervue Business and Technology Park – for a Grade A (regarded as ‘best in class’) specialist office building ranging in height from four storeys to six storeys, over a partial basement carpark and a new vehicular entrance from Wellpark Road, with surface parking and a public plaza.

Planners gave the application the green light, but said that one level, the fourth ‘floor’, should be omitted due to concerns about the overall density of the development.

They have also ordered that the offices be limited to the following uses: data processing; software development; IT; commercial laboratories; research and development; media recording; telemarketing and publishing; other technology uses.

“Details of the use of each floor or the entire building shall be submitted to and agreed with the planning authority prior to the occupation of each unit. Any use other than the uses listed above, shall require a prior grant of planning permission,” planners said.

The Council also stipulated that the paved public plaza area to the north of the building must be made available to all of the building’s occupants.

A financial contribution of more than €127,000 must also be paid to the Council towards the cost of provision of public services in the area.

Construction work has been restricted to between 8am and 6pm on Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. The developers have also been instructed to prevent workers parking on adjacent footpaths or on the Wellpark Road, and that deliveries during construction should be at off-peak hours – the times must be agreed in advance with the Council.

A schedule of works for any rock-breaking on the site must also be agreed with the local authority.

According to the application: “The proposed development seeks to deliver a high-quality architectural design of a landmark building set in a useable civic space; create a desirable workplace close to public transport and

“Our client’s vision is to create a landmark building that will become a gateway into the existing IDA park and has the potential to become a catalyst for future development and upgrade of the existing building stock in the IDA park.

“That will ensure/safeguard and strengthen the future of the park as a centre for employment able to accommodate the needs of medium to large employers/businesses that want to set-up in Grade A office space at a well-serviced, well-connected location close to the city centre as well as in close proximity to residential neighbourhoods and third level institutions,” the application reads.

The plans also include a total of 107 parking spaces and five sets of bicycle stands in the basement.

CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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

GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.

College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.

Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.

In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.

“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.

“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.

Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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