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Mayor calls for transport initiatives to be expedited

Francis Farragher

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The city will continue to lose business to places like Limerick, Athlone and Castlebar unless transport initiatives for the greater urban area are expedited, according to the Mayor of Galway.

Cllr Donal Lyons – who welcomed the announcement in August by Minister Pascal Donohoe of a strategic transport study – warned that Galway needed ‘to move on quickly’ in terms of infrastructural measures.

“The most important single piece of infrastructure that will take our city forward will be the construction of the City Outer Bypass – if this study helps us in that goal, then I welcome it,” said Cllr Lyons.

He warned, however, that there was plenty of anecdotal evidence over recent years to suggest that the city was losing retail business to centres like Limerick, Athlone and Castlebar.

“It’s not that the city is lacking anything by way of retail choice or atmosphere. Almost everyone that comes to the city enjoys the experience, but it’s getting to, through and from Galway City that presents the problem,” said Cllr Lyons.

Transport Minister, Pascal Donohoe, announced his draft strategic framework earlier this month aimed at prioritising future land transport investment decisions.

He said that a consultation process, that will be in place until October 16 next, was aimed at providing interested parties with an opportunity to contribute to the framework.

‘This work highlights a number of important issues with regard to transport investment. For example, it clearly outlines the value of capital investment in transport, and also the importance of investment in good transport projects,” said Minister Donohoe.

Galway City, along with Limerick, Cork and Dublin, will be examined in the framework study, in the context of growing populations and industrial expansion.

Some of the key issues relating to the city that will be examined in the report include:

• The ongoing growth of the city as a jobs hub for the western region.

 The development of a more inclusive public transport system.

 A prioritising of the City Outer Bypass project.

 The capacity of the main feeder roads into the city such as the N17 (Tuam), N59 (Clifden) and N18 (Limerick) to cope with increasing vehicle numbers over the coming years.

The framework document is available for download here while anyone interested in making submissions should forward them to: sfilt@dttas.ie by Thursday, October 16, next.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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