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CITY TRIBUNE

Louis O’Hara breathing down Anne Rabbitte’s neck

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Can you feel that, Minister Anne Rabbitte? That’s the sensation you get when Louis O’Hara is breathing down your neck. And not in a good way!

O’Hara, the Shinners’ shiny hope in Galway East, has been re-selected as Sinn Féin’s general election candidate in the constituency.

The Athenry man, an NUIG graduate, came close in 2020, almost causing a major upset in the three-seater and surprising many, even himself.

If the opinion polls are to be believed and materialise, then O’Hara will take a seat in Galway East next time out.

The consensus, again based on polling, is that Fianna Fáil be the likely losers, after plummeting to 8% in the latest poll of voting intentions in Connacht/Ulster by Red C.

Minister for Disability, Rabbitte – everybody’s favourite Fianna Fáil TD in Galway East – is certainly most at risk of the three sitting TDs; the other two incumbents are Ciaran Cannon (FG) and Seán Canney (Ind).

But there’s a long way to go. And Portumna’s political powerhouse is unlikely to bow out without a fight in a constituency that has always returned a Fianna Fáiler.

O’Hara is cutting his political teeth since last year’s general election, and is working with Midlands-North-West MEP, Chris MacManus.

We’re told that SF’s selection convention held on Zoom last Monday, was “well-attended”. No numbers given.

We’re also told that O’Hara beat party colleague, Tuam-based Stiofán de Lundres O’Dálaigh, in a postal vote of party members in the constituency.

The party said the results of the ballot won’t be made public, other than to confirm O’Hara’s selection, presumably by a landslide. That’s the easy bit; unseating Rabbitte will require more than just showing up though.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Homes threatened by 12-hour gorse fire in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – An extensive gorse fire in the Tonabrocky area this week – which raged for over 12 hours – at one stage threatened a number of houses in the area.

Fire Brigade resources were stretched as they battled on Wednesday evening to contain the fire which burned across several acres before being brought under control in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Fire brigade units from the city, Athenry and Carraroe fought the blaze, which at one point led to fears that residents in nearby houses would have to be evacuated.

Up to six fire tenders were involved in fighting the blaze which is thought to have started around 4 or 5pm on Wednesday – it was one of a series of gorse fires which occurred around the county over the course of the past week.

Fire Brigade personnel fought the blaze through the evening and into the early hours of the morning before eventually having it fully contained by 6am on Thursday morning.

The fire – which sent plumes of smoke several feet into the air and also across local roads – occurred at an area of commonage between Boleybeg and Tonabrocky.

Local councillor, John Connolly, has urged Galway City and County Councils to come together and launch an awareness’ campaign about the dangers of fires during extended periods of dry weather.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

HSE paid €1.35m over market value for Knocknacarra building

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The HSE has paid €11.85 million for the building to house its new ‘Integrated Care Hub’ in Knockncacarra – which is €1.35m over the open market value of the office block.

Confidential HSE documentation seen by the Galway City Tribune shows that Block A in Galway West Business Park – the former Aviva Insurance building – was independently valued at €10.5m.

The HSE subsequently paid €11.85m for the property.

According to the documentation, the building will cost €14.85m to fit out – however, that figure was based on construction costs in February 2022 and is expected to rise again due to inflation. Just seven months prior to that estimate, the fit-out works were costed at €10.8m.

A planning application is currently being put together for a new ‘Enhanced Primary Care Centre’ in the building, which will house Primary Care Teams as well as a unit for chronic disease management. A total of 105 staff will be based there.

When the matter was brought to the Board of the HSE nationally, they were told the purchase price was €1.3m above market value.

The other option shortlisted by the HSE was a ‘new build’ on lands at Merlin Park – this was costed at €33.1m because it would involve “considerable site upgrade works” and would much longer to deliver.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the June 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Flasher and ‘lewd act’ on beach investigated by Gardaí

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Gardaí in the city are investigating two reported incidents over the weekend of indecent exposure and offensive sexual conduct – one of them at a beach in Salthill and the other in the Eyre Square area.

In the first of the incidents in Eyre Square on Friday last, a man approached a woman at around 5.30pm and exposed himself.

The woman reported the incident to the Gardaí who are carrying out an investigation into what happened.

The second incident – which is understood to be unrelated to the first one – occurred at a busy beach in Salthill on Bank Holiday Monday.

One mother who contacted the Galway City Tribune said that she saw a man ‘writhing up and down in the sand’ before putting his hand down in the front of his Bermuda shorts.

She said that about 10-minutes later, the man moved along to the next beach – which was also crowded with people – while another woman nearby, who saw the same actions, contacted the Gardai.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the June 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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