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Indoor market a key priority for Chamber

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A covered food, craft and flea market in the city centre – run in conjunction with markets in towns around the county – forms a key component in a five-year plan outlined by Galway Chamber.

The market is identified as part of an overall ‘Master Rejuvenation Plan’ for the city centre and Salthill to help businesses recover from the economic downturn.

It is contained in the Chamber’s ‘Economic Development Plan 2015-2020’.

According to the business group, the country market would create employment in both the city and the county, increase footfall into the city centre and create a new tourist attraction.

The Chamber said that a joint investment from the private sector and the City Council would help the development of small dairy manufacturing, as has happened in Clare.

“The successful development of small manufacturers of dairy product [in Clare] is an outcome of support from the larger players in the food sector, leveraging the science and technology of a Technology Park run by Teagasc.

“This Public-Private investment surpassed expectations in terms of the numbers of new companies and products that come through there.

“Such a development in the West with Teagasc could be supported by Galway City through an investment in a covered food and craft market to promote local food, create a unique hospitality character, and attract people into the city.

“This would equally serve producers of craft products and artists looking to create small business opportunities within the surrounding towns of the region,” the plan reads.

It adds that the focus of the market would be for food and crafts produced within the region.

Private investment (including from suppliers), matched with investment from the city, would allow the Chamber to “identify and repurpose a suitable city site that can link the medieval and harbour districts”.

“The mission is to create a unique food and craft market for the Region that supports local enterprise, including the production of artisan foods (both land and sea-based) supplying the home and restaurant market,” it reads.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Tesco to take over 10 Joyce’s Supermarkets across Galway

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Tesco Ireland has announced it is to take over 10 Joyce’s Supermarkets stores in Galway.

Subject to approval, they’ll be rebranded and re-designed throughout next year on a phased basis.

No figure has been disclosed for the deal, which has been struck on the 70th anniversary of the family-run business.

Joyces was first established as a small grocery shop in Headford in 1951 and earlier this year the Joyce family celebrated 70 years in business.

The firm currently employs over 500 people and has stores in Headford, Knocknacarra, Athenry, Tuam, Inverin, Ballybane, Fr. Griffin Road, Doughiska, Oranmore and Oughterard.

All ten are set to be taken over by Tesco – though the acquisition is subject to the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

In a statement, Tesco says all stores will be rebranded throughout 2022 and will also offer services such as Grocery Home Shopping, Click & Collect, F&F Clothing and Homeware.

It adds Joyce’s employees will be welcomed as colleagues of Tesco Ireland and will be supported to continue and grow their careers at Tesco.

Tesco Ireland CEO Kari Daniels says Pat Joyce, his management team and staff have built a fantastic business with many great aspects that can complement Tesco’s offerings.

She says they look forward to welcoming customers to Tesco and engaging with suppliers and the wider community as soon as possible.

In a statement, Pat Joyce says it’s a historic moment for the business that he believes will bring great benefit to communities, and the opportunity has been carefully considered.

He adds they’re pleased to pass on the business to an established brand in Tesco and has moved to thank staff, suppliers and customers for their support over the years.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Top ICU consultant slams people who decide not to get Covid vaccine

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Dr Kevin Clarkson: UHG overwhelmed with critically ill patients.

Deciding not to get vaccinated has been slammed by the Regional Head of Surgery, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine as “self-destructive” and “selfish” and a move that was causing immense harm to the health services as well as the community.

Dr Kevin Clarkson, consultant in Intensive Care Medicine in University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Perioperative Clinical Director for the Saolta Hospital Group, has described the pandemic for staff as “constant warfare”.

“Day to day it’s extremely difficult to manage theatres, ICU [Intensive Care Units], A&E [Accident and Emergency]. Yesterday we were briefly overwhelmed with critically ill patients on wards, on the ICU itself and operating theatres. We simply do not have the resources to cope. We do manage but it’s constantly like warfare . . . it’s the constant siege and threat that is wearing on people.”

The latest statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) – which includes a breakdown for the first time of vaccination status for admissions to hospital – shows that more than half (54%) of the 136 admitted to ICUs nationally in September and October said they were not vaccinated.

While 7% of the population is unvaccinated, they account for more than half of all admissions to the ICU. Some 62% of the 0-24 age group with the infection in hospital were not vaccinated.

Almost all (97%) of those who contracted Covid-19 in September and October who were admitted to an ICU and were vaccinated had an underlying health condition.

That contrasts with the figure for the unvaccinated – one in three of them in ICU had no underlying health condition.

Around 28% of those who contracted the virus in the last two months and were admitted to an ICU were not born in Ireland. Of these 90% reported being unvaccinated.

Dr Clarkson said these statistics rang true in the Saolta Group.

“We have two presentations with Covid – the unvaccinated and those who are profoundly immuno-suppressed, often with haematological cancers so even though vaccinated they do not have general immunity.

“This cohort have a length of stay in the ICU that is extraordinarily long and they have a particularly high mortality.”

Patients from overseas who were unvaccinated predominately came from central and eastern Europe which had low vaccination rates, the consultant stated.

“They [people who choose not to get vaccinated] have made a very self-destructive and selfish decision that is causing immense harm to the health services and the broader society,” he insisted.

Hospitals have lost as many staff as they have managed to recruit throughout the pandemic. The only way to improve the dire circumstances for patients and staff was a new, expanded hospital with more staff with increased capacity in community care.

“The Prospectus Report in 2008 estimated we needed 40 critical care beds in Galway. We are down one to 13 beds. We were funded for six extra ICU beds in UHG but we can’t recruit to staff them. In addition, the infrastructure is severely limited.

“It can take long periods of time to get patients into ICU but it can take longer to get them out because we can’t get them out to the wards and that’s down to a lack of capacity. There’s the inability to discharge to the community because of the lack of rehabilitation facilities. There’s a need to overhaul flow productivity. The community can turn off the tap, the hospital can’t.

“We need a major new hospital with more bed stock and associated staff, accelerated ability to discharge to the community and we need to build operating theatres – it needs a major new hospital. We’ve not properly invested in Galway for the last 30/40 years, we‘ve had replacements, refurbishments, but very little new bed capacity.”

A total of 1,391 people tested positive in Galway in the seven days until Wednesday and 2,852 in the past fortnight – giving a 14-day incidence rate of 1,105 per 100,000 population – still below the national average of 1,287.  The latest figures from the HSE show there were 16 confirmed Covid cases being treated in UHG on Wednesday, as well as one suspected case.

There were two Covid patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Galway, and there were no ICU beds available. There were 16 general beds available.

The latest CSO report shows there were no confirmed Covid-19 deaths recorded in Galway in the week ending November 12. Overall, there have been 155 Covid deaths in Galway since the start of the pandemic. People aged 65 and over accounted for half all those hospitalised since March 2020.

Despite the high numbers going for PCR tests, there continued to be same day and next day availability at testing centres at Galway Airport and NUI Galway, unlike large swathes of the country.

Some 7,000 people had gone for testing in seven days at the airport.

Testing at NUIG has been increased from five to seven days providing in excess of 400 additional appointments.

Meanwhile a survey conducted by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation INTO) found that 2.1% (156) of Galway pupils were reported as testing positive for Covid.

They poll, based on responses from 877 schools, found 3.6% of staff nationally tested positive.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle said the snapshot survey shines a light on a primary education system that is creaking at the seams.

“Soaring transmission levels are an indictment of the premature removal of testing and contact tracing from our primary schools, and of the frustrating failure to move quickly to deploy antigen testing.”

 

 

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents associations urged to get behind new local authority initiative

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Local kids taking part in the 'greening' of Rocky Road in the Westside.

Residents’ groups throughout the city have been urged to get behind a new initiative which would see the ‘greening’ of run-down alleyways in their area.

In September, the Council launched a ‘Greening the Laneways’ project, with an overhaul of the Rocky Road in Westside.

Now, Councillor Terry O’Flaherty – who came up with the idea earlier this year – has called for communities around the city to follow suit.

“This is an idea I put forward at the February meeting of the City Council’s Climate, Environment Recreation and Amenity Strategic Policy Committee, and it’s been put into action for the first time in the Westside

“Galway City Council partnered with local residents and young people to ‘green’ the Rocky Road in Coogan Park, transforming it into a vibrant, nature friendly-space

“I think it’s a fantastic idea, and I hope that the Westside project will be the first of many all over the city.

“As well as taking the rough look off those alleyways, many of which have really been let go and look very decrepit, it also helps to curb anti-social behaviour and littering.

“I would like to see this initiative spread across the city particularly in the east ward as it would be great to see residents’ associations and especially young children coming on board and taking ownership of the alleyways in their areas,” she said.

Cllr O’Flaherty said that the idea was thought to be a first for the Republic of Ireland, one inspired by a similar initiative she saw launched in Northern Ireland at the start of this year.

For the Westside project, the City Council supplied planters and its Parks staff helped local residents and young people plant flowers, shrubs and an ‘edible landscape’ with fruit trees, strawberry bushes and even cabbage plants.

Locals were also involved in painting vibrant murals on the themes of climate action, biodiversity and anti-littering along the laneway with the help of talented professional artist Lukasz Kryzwon.

Cllr O’Flaherty said that relatively little funding would be required to extend the scheme to alleyways dotted all over the city.

“The costs are not huge and the returns are terrific for everyone — the alleyways which may have been eyesores are turned into things of beauty that everyone can enjoy, and working on the project gives the local community a sense of pride in their area.

“It’s a wonderful thing for children participate in the work from the start, and I can see a situation where schools might get involved in coming up with ideas for their own neighbourhoods, and working with residents in the areas where the alleyways are located,” said Cllr O’Flaherty.

 

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