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Lack of marina leaves Galway missing out on millions of euro

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One of the directors of the Irish Sailing Association and driving force behind Galway Bay Sailing Club, Pierce Purcell, believes the city and county are losing out on millions of euro every year because marina facilities are inadequate to cater for sailing boats, yachts and cruisers.

In the wake of Annalise Murphy’s superb silver medal win in the Olympics, it is hoped that further medals can be secured in the sport of sailing in the years to come. However, Mr. Purcell believes there needs to be a great degree of investment into marina facilities in Galway if it is to come up to standard.

“It is not all about high performance necessarily,” he says. “Galway has been very far behind the rest of the country in terms of facilities and access. Access and participation is my area on the board and we have been working very hard this year to try and get people onto the water. And we have to work a bit harder at the access.

“The facilities in Galway are very poor. We badly need a marina in Galway. We could do with a marina out here (in Oranmore). At the moment, the marina in Rossaveal is being expanded, which is good. It is a start. They started out with 30 berths and it should be 120 berths next year. So, that is something.”

Mr Purcell highlights that, last year, West of Ireland Off-Shore Racing Association (WIORA) ran its showpiece event out of the docks in the city and, supported by the Harbour Company, was hugely successful. In other words, when facilities are put in place, the region benefits.

“Next year, for the first time on the West Coast, the West of Ireland Off-shore Racing Association is going to be held in the Aran Islands under the auspices of a new club there. It is a very small club; it is just starting up. All the clubs in the West coast though are encouraging to have the event there. So, we will badly need facilities to be put in place.

“The Government has spent €40 something million on facilities out there. There was a wonderful opportunity to provide a few marina pontoons for all kinds of boat users as well but, sadly, this didn’t happen. So, it is going to take a huge effort to provide facilities for all those boats which are going to turn up next year, in July, in Kilronan.”

For Galway Bay Sailing Club’s part, they boast of 400 members between the various classes, dinghies to cruisers; juniors to adults to seniors; from leisure sailing to competitive racing. In all, 300 people alone around the bay have cruiser boats registered while approximately 14 of those affiliated to Galway Bay also cater for wheelchair users or accessible sailors.

“Our Commodore, Gary Allen, is an accessible sailor and, overall, we have a very enthusiastic group who turn up and go out on a regular basis. It is not uncommon to see a line of wheelchairs at the top of a slip on a Thursday evening. Mark Kelly, Henry Lupton, Marina Lupton and Lorraine Scully are great supporters of it.”

However, Mr. Purcell, who owns Purcell Marine in Clarinbridge, stresses it is not just for local users that he would like to see facilities developed. “The club would be very supportive of Galway Harbour development because this would bring in a huge number of events.

“We are constantly meeting people around the country who say Galway is a long way up and that we need better facilities if we are to attract people. Look what the Volvo Ocean Race did for Galway! It was fantastic. It was absolutely brilliant. If the facilities are there people will come. The modern sailor is expecting these kind of facilities nowadays.”

Consequently, he feels Galway is losing out economically due to the lack of adequate facilities in hotspots around Galway’s coastline. “I think a lot can be done with the facilities around, not only in terms of marinas,” continues Mr. Purcell.

“I am always watching out for camper vans these days and I can never understand why we don’t have better facilities for them because they will come and spend money in our towns and villages. We have wonderful natural amenities here, but we have been very slow to develop them. It is the same with our marinas,” he added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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