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Lack of marina leaves Galway missing out on millions of euro

Stephen Glennon



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.

Connacht Tribune

Covid lockdown returns for Kildare, Laois and Offaly

Enda Cunningham



The Government has announced localised lockdowns for people living in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, following a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past week.

People from outside of those counties have been asked not to travel their unless for work or essential travel.

The restrictions affect travel, pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and cinemas.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the clusters of new cases were of serious concern and described the restrictions as “limited”.

“Over the past 14 days 292 cases of Covid-19 have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time.

“These measures are being put in place to protect the vulnerable in these counties as well as to stop the spread of the virus.

They are in place for two weeks from midnight tonight (Friday) until midnight on Friday, August 20. The situation will then be reviewed,” the Taoiseach said.

Travel and transport

You can only travel within your county, other than for the following reasons:

  • to travel to and from work where that work cannot be done from home
  • to attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products
  • for vital family reasons, like providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits
  • for farming purposes, food production or care of animals

You should not travel into any of these counties, other than for the reasons above, and you need to travel through these counties to get somewhere else. You should not stop in Kildare, Laois or Offaly unless for essential purposes.

Public and private transport

You should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, and where possible you should not share private vehicles with others from outside your household.

Education and childcare

The following services remain open with appropriate protective measures in place:

  • education and childcare
  • outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
  • Economic activity and work
  • Anyone in these counties who can work from home should work from home.


Cafes and restaurants

  • All cafes and restaurants, including bars operating as restaurants, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing).
  • Hotels can remain open but must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons. Existing guests can remain for the duration of their booking.

Indoor gatherings

  • All indoor gatherings should be restricted to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 3 households in total, while maintaining physical distancing.

Outdoor gatherings

  • Outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.

Cultural and religious

  • All cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios are required to close.
  • Attendance at a funeral service and burial or cremation ceremony should be limited to 25 outdoors. Indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
  • Places of worship remain open for private prayer, while services are to be held online.


No sporting events or matches should take place, with the following exemptions:

  • non-contact training outdoors in a maximum group of 15 people may continue
  • professional and elite sports and horse-racing may continue behind closed doors
  • inter-county training (max 15 people) and fixtures may continue behind closed doors

Residential and healthcare facilities

*Visiting in long-term residential care facilities, acute settings and prisons will generally be suspended in the first instance with the exception of the most critical and compassionate circumstances (for example end of life).

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Footfall down by 80% in Galway city centre

Stephen Corrigan



Shop Street on Ladies Day of the Galway Races

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Footfall in the city centre was down by about 80% during what would normally be a bumper three weeks in the city, with this year’s Arts Festival and Summer Racing Festival both falling foul of Covid-19 restrictions.

Data compiled by the Galway City Business Association (GCBA) – which is a measure of mobile phone users at various points in the city centre – shows that there were over half a million fewer movements recorded during Race Week this year, representing around a 77% decline on the same week in 2019.

While the figures are by no means a conclusive count of individuals in the city, they do provide a good guide as to how many people are traversing the main thoroughfares over an extended period.

During the second week of the Arts Festival in 2019, just short of 900,000 movements were recorded in what was the city’s single busiest seven days of the year.

However, with the absence of the Big Top and various other Arts Festival venues this year, just over 150,000 movements were recorded in the same week this year.

Well-known city businessman and GCBA member Anthony Ryan said that the situation was gradually improving, but it was obviously a very different Race Week this year.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway City Council orders removal of new footbridge

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The installation of a footbridge over the Middle River at Newtownsmyth has led Galway City Council to warn the adjacent property owner to remove the structure, or face legal proceedings.

Property developer John Curley, who owns the commercial unit involved at Abhainn na mBradán, has received instruction from City Hall to have the bridge removed by today (Friday) in what the Galway City Tribune understands is being treated as a ‘extremely serious breach’ of planning regulations.

Mr Curley told this newspaper that the €25,000 bridge could not be removed this week as his architect was on holidays, and he was still considering what to do about the Council’s order.

Mr Curley said businessman Eric Furey had opened a new café in the building two weeks ago – the building also houses Born Clothing and Papa Rich restaurant.

The bridge had been installed to coincide with the opening of Roots Café and both Mr Curley and Mr Furey argued that it was crucial to the business’ survival that there was access from the busy canal walkway.

“We are going to fight this,” said Mr Curley, adding that it had been their intention to seek retention for the bridge, but that had been ruled out by city planners who refused to give permission to utilise public land on the far side of the canal.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council said: “Immediately on becoming aware of the installation of this structure across the canal, Galway City Council Planning Department requested the immediate removal of the structure.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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