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CITY TRIBUNE

Lockdown tipplers behind increase in drink driving cases

Dara Bradley

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People drinking alcohol at home during lockdown – and then getting into their cars and driving – has contributed to an increase in drink driving arrests this year.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley, in his latest Galway Garda crime statistics report, noted there has been a 5% rise in drink driving arrests this year.

Between January and the end of October of this year, there were 210 people caught in County Galway for driving while intoxicated. That was 10 more compared with the same 10-months period last year.

County Councillor Daithí Ó Cualáin (FF) said the year-on-year increase was worrying because in 2020, Galway was in lockdown twice and traffic on the roads had been greatly reduced, particularly during the first lockdown in spring.

“Where is the drink driving coming from? Is it house parties?” Cllr Ó Cualáin asked.

Chief Supt Curley said it was not necessarily house parties, but “people drinking wine and spirits at home”.

Gardaí were stopping drunk drivers at scheduled MIT checkpoints (Mandatory Intoxicant Testing), and at regular and Covid-19 checkpoints.

It was also detected “at the scene of accidents or if the public ring in and report someone driving erratically”, he said.

“These are not hard luck stories; these are (people driving) three, four or five times over the limit

Cllr Ó Cualáin said it was also worrying that speeding offences in County Galway had increased during the past ten months, compared with the same period in 2019.

“Traffic on our roads has been reduced, and yet speeding offences are up,” said Cllr Ó Cualáin.

Elsewhere in the crime report, in relation to traffic policing, Chief Supt Curley said there were 274 detections of driving without insurance in County Galway in the first 10 months of 2020. That was down by 26 cases or 9% compared with the same months in 2019.

There were 61% fewer accidents causing serious injury, down by 19 to 12 incidents on Galway roads in the first ten months of this year.

CITY TRIBUNE

Glass roof over Latin Quarter among raft of proposals to Galway City Council

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to put a roof over the Latin Quarter – with outdoor heaters to combat Galway’s changeable weather – is among a raft of suggestions that will be considered by the Council as it draws up the next City Development Plan.

The widespread use of outdoor theatre and extended opening hours for retail and cultural attractions are also on the cards as members of the public and lobby groups push for a city that offers the broadest range of tourist attractions.

As part of series of measures put forward to improve the outdoor offering in the city, one submission – which is understood to have been noted by the Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath in his report on plan, which is at ‘pre-draft’ stage – is to put a glass ceiling on the city centre’s main commercial thoroughfares.

Planners are currently considering the proposal as part of more than 500 submissions made to Council in the first public consultation for the document, which will shape development in the city for six years after 2023.

It’s proposed that by covering the length of Quay Street/Latin Quarter in high retractable glass panes ‘mounted on decorative supports’, and installing street heaters, ‘a comfortable outdoor ambiance could be created’.

This is one of almost 50 submissions made in the area of economic development, where the theme of improving the city’s night-time economy and tourism offering feature prominently.

In another submission from Fáilte Ireland, the tourism authority expresses its desire that the next City Development Plan should have a chapter dedicated to tourism, such is its importance to the city’s economic success.

As well as developing Galway’s growing reputation as a ‘foodie destination’, developing the night-time economy is identified as being ‘an important aspect of ensuring a vibrant city centre and means more than just developing a bar and restaurant culture’.
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

100 new jobs for Galway City Sports Direct outlet

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Sports Direct retail giant is set to create up to 100 new jobs when it takes over the former Debenhams department store in the Corrib Shopping Centre.

And the company’s sister outlet Heatons looks set to make a return to the city – possibly in the same building, although management are remaining tight-lipped.

Sports Direct has taken a lease on the Debenhams premises, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, and it will open in June.

“The 65,000 sq ft store will comprise four floors and will consist of Sports Direct, USC and Brand Max. 100 jobs for the store will be created,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Galway City Tribune.

The spokesperson could not confirm that the Heatons brand – which is also owned by English billionaire Mike Ashley – will also be opening as part of the move. The group is currently advertising for staff to work at a new Heatons store in Galway.
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

Forty firefighters tackle major blaze at Galway golf shop

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 40 firefighters from across the city and county fought a major fire at the GolfStyle superstore off the Tuam Road for around six hours on Thursday morning.

Gardaí on routine patrol in the Liosbán Business Park shortly before 3am noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building and immediately alerted the fire service.

The building, which was unoccupied at the time, is understood to have suffered major structural and roof damage in the fire that started in the first floor.

At one point, 11 fire engines from the city, Athenry, Loughrea, Carraroe and Gort fought the blaze, using water tankers and aerial ladders, as well as having a command unit in place.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus also had to force their way into the building to tackle the source of the fire, that possibly could have been caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was brought under control at around 7.30am, but the Fire Brigade remained at the scene for a number of hours afterwards in case of any secondary outbreak.
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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