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Horse traders in search of future champions at Ballinasloe Fair



The number of European horse buyers in Ballinasloe for the annual October Fair has exceeded all expectations – in fact, there were very few horses left unsold at close of business on Monday evening.

There were record crowds in Ballinasloe over the weekend for the horse fair although the numbers on the Monday were slightly down on previous years.

The fair kicked off on Sunday when there was ‘unofficial’ sulky racing on a track beside the Green. Gardai have reported very little trouble although a number of slash hooks were produced over the weekend.

It was thought that there would be major trouble in Ballinasloe following the decision by Galway County Council to ban the tradition of sulky racing which is an opportunity for the Travelling community to ‘flash’ their horses.

But despite the ban, the sulky racing took place and it attracted quite an amount of interest and so, too, did the lunging event – in which horse owners display their animals over jumps on a long rein – as this, too, was under threat of not taking place.

But the intervention of Cllr Michael Finnerty of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail’s Cllr Donal Burke resulted in many of the events going ahead when the future of the fair was under threat.

However, while there were a number of skirmishes among Traveller factions at the fair it was generally quieter than normal with the business community – and particularly the publicans – relishing the additional trade.

It is estimated that there were around 80,000 visitors to Ballinasloe over the weekend but the number of horse buyers from continental Europe took the town by surprise. They were lined up from as early as 5am on Sunday morning.

There were lorries and trailers from Denmark, France and Germany in Ballinasloe with the owners willing to fork out thousands of euros for the horses on display. Most of the horses sold would either be used for breeding purposes or showjumping.

Cllr Michael Finnerty said that despite the supposed ban on sulky racing, this was one of the best festivals ever. “The sulky racing took place despite a ban by Galway County Council and there was very little trouble in the town,” he said.

The FG councillor said that while there was no official opening to the October Fair, there was a huge crowd in Ballinasloe for the horse fair and he was delighted at this. The official opening was abandoned because of the ban on the sulky racing and the possibility of trouble as a result.

The October Fail will continue into next week with showjumping events, tug of war and a country fair day in prospect.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



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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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



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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