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CITY TRIBUNE

Market traders frustrated at being ‘rebuffed’ by Galway City Council

Dara Bradley

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It’s a firm favourite with local shoppers of a Saturday . . . and it’s a major attraction for visitors to the city, listed in all guide books and online reviews of ‘things to do’ when visiting the City of the Tribes.

However, traders at Galway’s famous market feel their concerns about the damaged surface at Churchyard Street are being ignored by management at City Hall.

Galway Market traders said they were ‘shocked’ to learn last week that an upgrade of the surface area of the market is not included in any phase of the resurfacing works on Shop Street, which is ongoing.

This is despite previous assurances from City Council management that Churchyard Street would be repaired as part of the overall Shop Street pedestrianisation project.

Traders estimated the total costs of urgent remedial works would be just €10,000. Some works are ongoing at the Lombard Street section of the market surface, as part of job to put in new electronic bollards, but traders have been told the Council doesn’t have the money to resurface the entire area.

Some 70 traders have stalls there every Saturday, and the Sunday market is becoming more attractive to stallholders with about 40 operating on Sundays. It is also a big attraction during Galway Arts Festival, and at Christmas time.

This year, St Nicholas’ Church celebrates its 700th year, which should attract further footfall to the area; and the market should also be busier with tourists coming here for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture.

Dirk Flake, an organic vegetable grower based in Kinvara, and spokesperson for the Traders Committee, said the Council has confirmed that there are no plans to include the area in resurfacing works.

He said traders are “frustrated” at being “rebuffed” by senior Council management, and the “neglect” of the area. “There is no commitment, not even a promise,” he said.

“As traders, we are all in agreement that senior officials in Galway City Council need to take action now to make urgent repairs to prevent serious injury to market patrons and traders,” Mr Flake told the Galway City Tribune.

He said traders had been lobbying for the repairs for over two years – but to no avail. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly (Ind), he said, secured a meeting with officials, and contractors, during which it became apparent that Churchyard Street is not included in the present phase of resurfacing, and there are no plans to include the area in works scheduled for 2022.

Some gullies have been cleaned, which has resulted in less flooding, and a small are of uneven surface has been levelled. And he said that Councillor Collette Connolly (Ind) offered money left over from the Local Improvement Scheme to fix some ‘black spots’, but there was still no commitment from the Council “to do the maintenance works necessary to bridge the period until a major resurface can be planned for the market area”.

“We are looking for some kind of solution to address loose and broken paving which present a real hazard to patrons and pedestrians, many of whom are older with mobility issues,” said Mr Flake.

“Flooding in times of heavy rain also presents a real problem and it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt as they try and navigate their way through the market. This has been really evident over this winter as the weather has been particularly challenging and it makes conditions in the market very difficult for traders and patrons. We have been trying for some time to meet with Council officials to have a constructive discussion on issues relating to the market, but our repeated requests have been ignored. This is all the more frustrating because our committee has had a very productive relationship with the Council in the past.

“There seems to be a general lack of awareness or appreciation among officials for the importance of the market to the city. Sometimes it can feel like we are invisible to the Council. While we have had great help from a few individual Councillors, we are asking all Councillors and Council officials to come and experience conditions in the market so they can see first-hand where the issues are.

“We have ongoing issues with proper street cleaning, access to electricity and proper loading and unloading facilities. Galway has been designated the City of Culture for 2020 and these works will only enhance the experience of the market and its contribution to the unique culture of Galway City,” he added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Inspectors from HIQA praise management of maternity unit at University Hospital

Denise McNamara

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The gynaecology theatre at UHG.

The maternity unit at University Hospital Galway has been given a clean bill of health by inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The only ‘bone of contention’ concerned the lack of specialists ringfenced for the labour ward, where infrastructure was also found to be lacking.

The maternity unit was fully compliant with seven national standards and substantially compliant with a further three, with inspectors praising the department for having “a clearly defined and effective leadership, governance and management structure”.

“There was good oversight of the quality and safety of services by senior managers at the hospital who used multiple sources of information to identify opportunities for improvement.

“The hospital’s senior management team monitored performance data including patient outcomes, service user feedback and patient safety incidents and benchmarked its performance against other similar sized hospitals,” the report found.

Inspectors did find a limited number of areas that needed to be improved. They found there were an insufficient number of consultant anaesthesiologists at the hospital to provide a dedicated obstetric anaesthetic service, which needed to sufficiently resourced in line with national standards.

The anaesthetic service in the maternity unit was led by a consultant anaesthesiologist with specialist training in obstetric anaesthesia.

“However, the hospital did not have a designated obstetric anaesthetic service in line with national standards. The anaesthetic service was largely staffed by anaesthesiologists from the general anaesthesiology rota at the hospital.”

While an audit had found that times for an anaesthesiologist to attend the Maternity Unit were “timely”, inspectors had been informed that the anaesthetic team was not always informed about the level of urgency when contacted to attend for an emergency caesarean section.

“This information is required by the anaesthetic team so that they can prioritise their workload. The absence of this is of concern and should be addressed by the hospital,” the report states.

Hospital management has submitted business plans to recruit additional consultant anaesthesiologists so that a 24-hour dedicated obstetric anaesthesiology service could be provided. This had yet to be progressed. They had recently applied to the HSE for funding for two additional consultant anaesthesiologists.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Nuns seek inspiration on proposal for new convent

Enda Cunningham

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The existing Presentation Convent, which was built in the mid-18th century and operated as a military barracks and fever hospital.

The Presentation Sisters have been told that the site for their proposed new city centre convent is not big enough, as there are already plans for the new Our Lady’s College building there.

Earlier this year, the Sisters decided that upgrade works to the existing building would be “very invasive”.

The Sisters subsequently sought permission to construct a two-storey building with 14 bedrooms, an oratory, reception, living and dining areas, utility rooms and administrator’s apartment on the site at Presentation Road.

The plans also involve moving the existing vehicular entrance and the demolition of the extension and outbuildings at the disused national school building, which is a protected structure, and to convert the building into two residential units.

“This application is primarily for a new convent building for the Sisters within the boundaries of the current premises. It will facilitate a residency to current standards with a building suitable to meet their needs in a manner that is compliant with current building regulations.

“This arose as an alternative following an examination and feasibility of interventions and upgrades to the old convent building. Such works would be very invasive to the old building. As such, this proposal does not involve any intensification of use or occupancy of the site.

“The siting of the building is selected to minimise impacts on the gardens. The application also includes for the renovation and alterations to the derelict national school, to bring it into residential use. This will be ancillary to the use of the convent and not other residential use,” the application reads.

According to an architectural heritage assessment report, the Presentation Sisters have occupied the existing convent building since 1819. It was built in the mid-18th century and had previously operated as a charter school, military barracks and fever hospital.

“The overall works will bring it back into a sustainable use which prevents dereliction and will aid its longevity into the future,” the application reads.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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