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CITY TRIBUNE

Householder in tears after ESB fell her trees

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An Oranmore woman was left in floods of tears after ESB staff removed twelve trees from her garden.

It was one of a number of fellings that has left residents in the city and county angry – and accusing ESB Networks of ‘butchering trees’ in Renmore and Mervue as well as Oranmore.

One woman traumatised by this, who wishes to remain anonymous, has spoken about her devastation over what she described as the ‘bloody mess’ that the ESB crew left her garden in.

ESB protocol states that if a tree is close to interfering with an electricity line, they will ‘trim the branches back a safe distance’.

However, they say, ‘if the trees are in an unstable condition and there is danger they could fall on the electricity line we will cut them down completely.’

The Oranmore woman was informed that ESB would be trimming trees in her local area.

But she said she had specifically stated that she didn’t want any work done on her trees because she was looking at getting them trimmed herself.

The woman did acknowledge that some of the trees in her garden were ‘bending slightly’ and did need work for safety reasons.

She said that nobody was present in her home when the trees in her garden were cut down.

“They ripped out twelve 25 feet trees,” she said, “I cried.”

She felt her garden had been left in a terrible condition after the removal of the trees.

She continuously contacted ESB about the issue but she said they eventually stopped answering her calls and emails altogether – ultimately claiming that she was harassing them.

They have since contacted her but she said that they still “refuse to accept any responsibility.”

The woman has contacted a solicitor, Citizens Advice and the Tree Council of Ireland.

Project Supervisor at ESB Networks Paddy Gorman, who was initially dealing with the complaints regarding the trees in Renmore, declined to comment on the issue but said he is working with the City Council on the situation.

Last month, Councillor Terry O’Flaherty demanded that ESB Networks return to Renmore Park and “finish the job properly”.

“They have left the area in an unholy mess – they really have to be seen to be believed.

“It’s simply not acceptable. Local people are very proud of their area and are very upset by this,” said Cllr O’Flaherty, adding that there is now a concern among locals that the condition of the trees could pose a safety risk.

“Some of these trees are now lop-sided, with all the weight on one side, and some people are worried that if we have another storm like we did last month, one of these trees could be blown over – and who will be responsible then if they cause damage to property, or worse injury?”

The City Council’s Senior Executive Parks Superintendent Stephen Walsh said he was on the ‘same wavelength’ as Cllr O’Flaherty on this issue. “I’ve made it clear that we’re not happy,” he said.

CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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

NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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

Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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