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IDA under pressure to bring industry to rural areas

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The IDA is coming under severe pressure to provide more jobs in rural Galway – rather than focusing their attention on larger centres of population like Galway city.

While Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor toured the country over the summer months, there are demands for new employment in towns like Tuam, Ballinasloe and Loughrea.

There are still more than 2,000 out of work in Tuam while in Ballinasloe the loss of manufacturing jobs has resulted in more than 2,500 being left on the dole. The number of closed up shops in the town has reached unprecedented levels.

TDs and councillors representing these towns have called on the IDA to seek planning permission for advance factories to be built so that facilities could be put in place that would attract manufacturing industry.

Fianna Fail’s Deputy Eugene Murphy says that the IDA jobs figures do not live up to their claims that they are spreading jobs fairly across the country.

The Roscommon-Galway TD said that there was evidence to show that almost 50% of foreign direct investment jobs were located in the greater Dublin area between 2012 and 2015.

According to fellow TD, Deputy Mick Fitzmaurice, the latest employment figures from the IDA shows clearly that the West of Ireland and other rural areas are falling further and further behind when it comes to job creation.

“The infrastructure deficit outside the main urban areas has been pointed out to us by major employers and is a major bar to employment creation

“The IDA figures show an increase in employment figures for Mayo and Galway, a small increase in Roscommon and a loss of jobs in Sligo and Leitrim.

“While the employment figures at IDA assisted companies shows a slight overall increase in the western area which is welcome, it is minuscule when compared to the figures for Dublin and Cork and other major urban areas,” Deputy Fitzmaurice added.

He said that he met with major employers in the west and they clearly said that the lack of proper infrastructure in terms of roads, proper broadband and mobile services and other basic facilities is a bar to employment creation in rural areas.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Tom McHugh has repeatedly called on the IDA to seeking planning permission for the construction of advance factories at their 27 acre site on the Dunmore Road in Tuam.

“While I welcome the Minister’s visit to the site during the summer, we need the IDA to provide the facilities at the business park for a manufacturing industry to locate there.

“It is a fine facility and one that should be utilised and particularly in view of the fact that Tuam will become part of a motorway in around 16 months’ time,” Cllr McHugh added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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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