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Connacht Tribune

Islanders welcome decision to reject glamping plans

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Residents on Inishbofin have welcomed the refusal of planning permission for an upmarket camping site on the island – planners have ruled that it would have an adverse impact on wildlife habitats in the area.

It was proposed to develop 14 glamping pods, which would have the capacity to accommodate around 100 visitors at any one time, at Knock, Inishbofin.

The plan was to provide the glamping pods, a reception area, a toilet block and a wastewater treatment system at a location close to Drumhach Beach.

But the plans attracted a total of 37 objections, mainly from residents both on and off the island, on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on wildlife, particularly the Corncrake, as well as it being unsightly at this particular location.

Inishbofin Tourism Committee, An Taisce and a number of island accommodation providers were also among the objectors.

And there were suggestion that the proposed glamping development at Knock, Inishbofin, would attract a certain element that would dissuade the more traditional visitor from coming to the island.

The applicants, Bofin Glamping Limited, stated that they wanted to provide “a unique holiday or short-stay” experience for visitors by providing a high standard of accommodation.

They stated that they are fully aware of the sensitivity of the landscape on ‘Bofin and wish to make as little impact as possible on the environment.

According to their submission, the pods are portable timber-framed accommodation to domestic house standards with insulation that keeps them warm in any conditions.

Bofin Glamping Limited was established earlier this year by Paddy Mullin and John Adams who work for the locally run ferry service Island Discovery. Paddy is a crewman and relief skipper while John also runs The Harbour Shop on the island.

However, Galway County Council ruled that the site for the glamping pods was protected under the EU Habitats Directive. The development, they said, would result in the permanent loss of the Machair wildlife habitat.

The planning authority were also not satisfied that the safe disposal of domestic effluent can be achieved on site and this would pose an unacceptable risk to surface waters and the flora and fauna of the area.

It was also stated that the development would be incapable of satisfactorily assimilating into this rural landscape and would have a detrimental effect on this coastal setting.

In their submission, Inishbofin Tourism Committee say that the application listed only five accommodation providers on the island when, in fact, there are 263 existing beds available for tourist purposes.

“A plan that tries to prove demand for accommodation on the island while at the same time does not even include over half the beds in the whole tourism sector, is a plan not worth considering due to this serious misrepresentation of the facts”.

They went on to say that it would ruin this very scenic part of the island and would have a negative impact on Drumhach Beach – a Green Coast Award recipient.

“The constant pollution, noise, movement, lighting and general activity from this amount of people would be devastating for the area”, the tourism group contended.

The decision is likely to be appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

 

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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