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IDA defends track record on job creation in Galway

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The IDA has defended its track record for job creation in Galway – with employment in client companies here up 30% since 2009, despite the economic collapse.

The agency issued a statement following concerns expressed last week by Galway West Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív on the decrease in the number of site visits by potential overseas investors over the past three years.

According to the IDA, there are a total of 60 companies in Galway which it supports, and employ 13,615 people.

And while employment has been growing steadily against the backdrop of a global economic downturn, the IDA has pointed out that some projects are never publicly announced.

The IDA statement reads: “Total employment at IDA-client companies in Galway and the wider West region has been growing strongly, by 5.4% last year and by almost 30% since 2009, despite a global downturn during that period.

“It is important to consider that many projects for regional locations are never publicly announced, which is not reflected in half-year site visit statistics.

“In addition, there has been strong growth within our existing client companies, marking progress which tends to go unnoticed as it isn’t always publicly announced.

“The final decision on where to locate an investment does, and always will, ultimately reside with the client company and IDA’s overriding consideration must be winning the project for Ireland in the first instance.

“That said, IDA is intent on building on the momentum begun in the past three years which has seen top companies in Pharma, ICT and Medical Technologies such as Mylan, Fidelity, Merit Medical, Cisco, HP and SAP and the computer games company EA Games creating some 1,500 jobs in Galway.

“This year to date, there have been announcements from SmartBear, Hewlett Packard, SAP and Seko Med Tech Solutions.

“A strong pipeline exists for the remainder of the year. The future pipeline for regional locations generally is strong at present and significant investments are in the process of being won for several locations outside of the three largest cities,” the statement reads.

Deputy Ó Cuív had expressed concerns over the slump in the level of site visits to Galway by potential international companies – there were 35 in 2011, 18 in 2012 and just 15 last year.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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

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