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Insurance checks see Galway taxis flee ranks

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About one third of taxis normally on the ranks in Galway City disappeared on Saturday night after Gardaí commenced a check for tax and insurance.

It meant that those who fully comply with the laws had one of the best weekends in recent years as the competition ‘headed to the hills’.

Before the weekend the Gardaí had announced nationally that they were going to check on taxi drivers to ensure that they were fully compliant in relation to insurance cover and motor tax.

The news of this filtered through the various taxi ranks throughout the city and it resulted in many drivers not showing up for work over the weekend.

Industry sources estimate that around one third of taxis that generally operate for business in the city disappeared from the ranks.

There are claims that some taxi operators obtain insurance on a direct debit arrangement, get a disc – but then do not make subsequent monthly payments. Yet, they display an insurance disc purporting to cover them for the year.

Gerry Corbett of Taxi Drivers Galway said that it was the best weekend that he had for the past couple of years because there were so many operators gone from the ranks.

“It is known within the business that there is a huge amount of illegal operators in Galway city and it is time that they were weeded out.

“We welcome the Garda initiative to check every driver’s insurance policy and to ensure that they are fully compliant with the taxi laws.

“It was quite amazing to see so many drivers disappear from the taxi ranks over the weekend. We can only assume that it was because of the Garda action,” Mr Corbett said.

A spokesperson for Galway Gardaí said that the monitoring of taxis in Galway City would continue. He said that it was in the interest of passenger safety.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

Connacht Tribune

Whiskey plan turns sour for producers

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The distance between a whiskey production enterprise and a proposed warehouse for its maturation was one of the reasons why planning has been refused.

The proposal was to construct a single storey warehouse building around two miles from Ballinasloe to complement the existing distillery in Ahascragh – but it has been given the thumbs down.

The planning application was submitted by Easyfix Limited, which manufactures rubber products, for the development adjacent to their existing business at Persse Business Park in Ballinasloe.

The company own the site at this location but had intended providing a warehouse to facilitate the existing whiskey and gin distillery in Ahascragh, which has recently received several awards for their products.

Galway County Council rejected the proposal stating that it would be built on a rural unserviced location – around eight miles from the primary business in Ahascragh.

Planners said that in the absence of a robust justification for a warehouse development in an unserviced location, it would be “incompatible with the ethos of rural enterprise”.

They also said that the particular site was occupied by mammals (without specifying what these were) and that from an ecological and environmental point of view, the proposed development was unacceptable.

In the planning application, it was stated that the proposed development would involve whiskey maturation and bottling stages of the production process.

They applicants said that the maturation and bottling were inherent key stages of whiskey production and occurs after and separate from the distillation process.

The McAllister Distillery in Ahascragh in the old mill is nearing completion but the owners are already brewing their own products.

According to their submission to the planning authority, Easyfix Limited stated that when the McAllisters were granted planning for the distillery a couple of years ago, the maturation and bottling was not permitted.

“An extensive warehousing facility is required to facilitate this process in order to assist the Ahascragh Distillers.

“The distillery site is located on a confined site within the village and would not have the access to expansive space required to accommodate and associated maturating and bottling facility,” it was argued.

The application was accompanied by a letter from the Ahascragh Distillery owners Michelle and Gareth McAllister who said that a warehouse goes hand in hand with a whiskey distilling operaton.

They said that a rural and less dense setting was preferable as a maturation warehouse for whiskey needs to be secure.

It would have limited access points with safety and security being a top priority for what they said would be the storage of “a very valuable product”.

“The site at Persse Park is ideal for our whiskey maturation warehousing. It is close to the distillery in Ahascragh allowing for daily deliveries of freshly made spirit for casking and storage in the warehouse,” they said.

(Photo: Gareth and Michelle McAllister from Ahascragh Distillery).

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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CITY TRIBUNE

Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.


“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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