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House plan for elderly on Royal Tara site

Enda Cunningham



The Royal Tara site in Mervue could be brought back under public ownership and used to build a quaint estate for older people on the city’s housing waiting list.

Galway City Council owns the property but leases it out to Royal Tara China Limited under four separate leases varying in time from 200 to 500 year.

The local authority has been urged to ‘buy back’ the leases, and use the site to help clear the housing waiting list.

Galway City Councillor Frank Fahy has proposed a motion that would commit the Council to buying back the leases and returning the property to the local authority.

Previously, Council officials brought forward a report which recommended the sale of the property to Royal Tara China Limited.

Last year, the Council was lining up to sell its leases to Royal Tara, which would bring a windfall of €535,000. That money, according to the City Council, was then going to be used to complete its share of the purchase of Galway Airport from Galway Chamber.

At the time, City Councillors were led to believe that they were “obliged” to sell all four leases but it has since emerged that there is only a legal obligation to sell two of the leases, not four.

Royal Tara Ltd is understood to be only interested in purchasing all four leases and not two. But Cllr Frank Fahy says the Council shouldn’t sell the lease and instead it should buy-out its leases from Royal Tara.

“They have planning permission for about 100 housing units on that site. Two leases are no good to them – they need four. But I think we shouldn’t be selling the leases at all, I think what we should be doing is a buy-back of the leases, which would free up this site to be used for the development of a housing estate for older people, single and widowed, along the same lines as Melody Court in Renmore of Suán on the Headford Road.

“They are wonderfully quaint estates and I think the Royal Tara site would be the ideal location for a similar development which would help to take older people, and particularly single older people, off the housing waiting lists,” said Cllr Fahy.

Cllr Fahy has been told that it would cost the Council €1.2 million to buy-out the leases, a figure he says is “quite interesting” seeing as they the market price for the property is quoted as €535,000 in an independent valuation.

“I find it strange that it wants to pay the Council €535,000 to buy the property from us yet we’d have to pay €1.2 million to buy-out the leases – does that make sense?”

The matter was briefly mentioned at the most recent City Council meeting but it was put back for a full discussion at the next meeting. Tara Hall, a building steeped in history, is a protected structure. The 1.9 hectares site includes several factories, sheds and outbuildings to the rear of Tara Hall. The land is zoned for enterprise, industry and related uses in the city Development Plan 2011-2017.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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