Plans to dig up an unofficial 1916 stone in Mervue have been shelved – for now – but the area is set to get another commemorative plaque, after City Councillors voted in favour of erecting an official one.
A motion calling on Galway City Council to remove the “unauthorised structure” at Connolly Avenue in Mervue was deferred last week.
Councillor Pádraig Conneely (FG), the proposer, demanded its removal but his colleagues ‘kicked to touch’ and instead sought a report from Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.
Meanwhile, a second motion, calling for a “plaque or memorial garden” to commemorate the 1916 centenary, to be installed at the green area opposite the shopping centre in Mervue, was unanimously agreed. This motion, proposed by Independent Terry O’Flaherty, was on the agenda long before the controversial stone in Connolly Avenue surfaced over Easter.
Councillor Conneely reiterated his opposition to the Connolly Avenue stone. He said it was installed without permission on Council lands and nobody was taking responsibility for it. He again accused “Sinn Féin/IRA” of erecting the stone “in the dead of the night”.
He said it was disingenuous now of Sinn Féin to claim they didn’t know about it, even though it was Sinn Féin Councillor Maireád Farrell who circulated invites to the unveiling; and it was a Sinn Féin Oireachtas member who was asked to launch it.
Cllr Farrell again told her colleagues that it was not a Sinn Féin stone and she felt it was an appropriate way to celebrate the 1916 Rising, 100 years on. She saw no reason why it should be removed.
The Chamber heard that the Easter lily on the stone has since been painted over, and not “daubed in graffiti” as had been suggested in some reports.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) noted during the discussion that the city’s mayor, Frank Fahy, and the office of mayor, was ‘snubbed’ by not getting an invite. Most councillors who spoke said that it was handled badly. They said there is procedure and protocol in place for public areas and they feared that this might set a precedent if it was allowed to stay.
Fianna Fáil’s Michael Crowe said the stone controversy had consumed far too much of Councillors’ time. “I’m not losing sleep over it,” he said, adding that nobody in the area has contacted him about it.
Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said that last Monday week, he was of a mind to remove the stone because it was erected without permission, and no one had claimed responsibility or ownership of it.
At the end of last week, however, the resident’s association wrote to him claiming ownership and calling for it to be retained. Mr McGrath said he would meet with residents and report back to members. Councillors agreed to decide what to do then.
Meanwhile, there were concerns about procedure and protocol in relation to Councillor O’Flaherty’s proposal for a plaque opposite the shops in Mervue.
This proposal had missed the deadline for applications for funding under the Council’s 1916 commemoration budget. The meeting heard however, that in the context of the Central Ward (Shantalla) and West Ward (Knocknacarra) both receiving funds for 1916 commemorative gardens, it would be appropriate that the East Ward (Mervue) would be funded too.
Senior Executive Officer, Gary McMahon, said: “There would be a certain symmetry to it”.
Mr McGrath said there might be some money for the Mervue proposal but councillors or the community would have to come up with the shortfall. Councillor O’Flaherty’s motion was supported by all councillors.
Full details of the Christmas Covid restrictions
The Taoiseach announced this evening that the country will move to Level 3 restrictions from next week, with shops, gyms, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants and gastro-pubs set to reopen.
“It hasn’t been easy. Many individuals and businesses have made huge sacrifices. And many more are totally fed up with Covid-19 and everything that has come with it over the past nine months. I understand that feeling. Very often I share it,” Micheál Martin said in an address to the nation.
“This cannot and will not be the kind of Christmas we are used to but it will be a very special time where we all enjoy some respite,” he said, as he announced the planned move to “Level 3, with some modifications”.
The use of face coverings is now recommended in crowded workplaces, places of worship and in busy or crowded outdoor spaces where there is significant congregation.
From 1 December, under Level 3, as set out in the Plan for Living with Covid-19:
- weddings with up to 25 guests are permitted (same as current provisions)
- funerals with up to 25 mourners are permitted (same as current provisions)
- no organised indoor events should take place, other than as provided below
- gatherings of 15 people may take place outdoors
- non-contact training may take place outdoors in pods of 15
- only individual training should take place indoors and no exercise or dance classes are permitted
- no matches/events may take place except professional and elite sports, approved inter-county Gaelic games, horse-racing and approved equestrian events, all behind closed doors
- gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may reopen for individual training only
- nightclubs, discos and casinos should remain closed
- hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs may open with services limited to residents only
- non-essential retail and personal services may reopen
- people should continue to work from home unless absolutely necessary to attend in person
- public transport capacity is limited to 50%
From 1 December:
- households should not mix with any other households outside those within their bubble
- people should stay within their county apart from work, education and other essential purposes
From 4 December:
- restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants (serving a substantial meal) may reopen for indoor dining with additional restrictions, (including requirement for meals to be prepared on site, inside the premises). This includes access for non-residents to restaurants in hotels
- higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online
Adjustments for the Christmas Period
From 1 December:
- places of worship to reopen for services with restrictive measures, subject to review in January
- museums, galleries, and libraries to reopen
- cinemas to reopen
- wet pubs to remain closed except for takeaway/delivery
From 18 December to 6 January:
- households can mix with up to two other households
- travel outside your county to be permitted
From 7 January, the measures put in place prior to 18 December will apply, subject to ongoing review of the trajectory of the virus.
The measures for cross-border travel will be the same as for travel between all other counties, that is, from 1 December, people should stay within their county apart from work, education and other essential purposes while from 18 December to 6 January, travel outside the county is permitted.
It has further been agreed that the use of face coverings is now recommended in crowded workplaces, places of worship and in busy or crowded outdoor spaces where there is significant congregation.
Proposals to change speed limits in Galway City are voted down
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Planned speed limit changes for Galway City are stuck in the slow lane after councillors rejected a proposal for new bylaws.
The bylaws would have introduced a 30km/h zone in the city centre and 19 other changes, including increased speed limits in areas such as Bóthar na dTreabh to 80km/h.
Management at City Hall have now been sent back to the drawing board to draft new speed limit bylaws after a majority of elected members voted against them – it could at least two years before new proposals are ready.
At a meeting this week, several councillors spoke out against plans to increase speed limits to 80km/h on approach roads into the city.
Many of them criticised the system of selecting roads for speed limit changes, lashed the public consultation process and decried the lack of input from councillors, despite speed limits being a reserved function of elected members.
Councillors were particularly peeved that the proposal had to be accepted in its entirety, without amendments, or rejected outright – they could not pick and choose individual changes.
Deputy Mayor Collette Connolly (Ind) led the charge against the bylaws, which she described as “idiotic”.
She lambasted the “incomprehensible decision” not to lower speed limits to 30km/h outside schools and she said it was “utter raiméis” (nonsense) that speeds can’t be lowered to 30km/h, if 85% of the traffic on that road travels at 50km/h.
Cllr Connolly said the bylaws were “flawed”, and cited the decision to leave Rahoon Road/Shantalla Road at 50km/h, despite a crèche and two schools on other roads like Lough Atalia remaining at 30km/h.
(Photo: A speed van on Bóthar na dTreabh on Thursday morning)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, including how each councillor voted and a map of the proposed changes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Corrib to be opened up as new tourism and leisure blueway
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first steps are to be taken next year to explore the development of a ‘blueway’ tourism and leisure trail along the River Corrib, from Nimmo’s Pier and onto the lake itself.
This week, Galway City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that monies had been set aside to begin exploratory work on what will be known as the Great Western Blueway.
A figure of €65,000 has been allocated in the City Council’s 2021 annual budget to commission an initial study of what’s involved in the setting up a blueway trail on the Corrib.
“The Corrib river and the lake are a most wonderful natural asset for the entire western region and I have no doubt that this project has fantastic potential in terms of enhancing the tourism pulling power of the city and its environs,” Mr McGrath told the Galway City Tribune this week.
Should the project come to fruition, it would be the fifth such waterway attraction to be developed in the island of Ireland.
Already there are Blueways on the Shannon, from Drumshanbo to Lanesboro; the Shannon-Erne project from Leitrim village to Belturbet (Cavan); the Royal Canal at Mullingar; and at Lough Derg from Portumna to Scariff in Clare.
According to Mr McGrath, the attractions developed along the Great Western Blueway would be environmentally friendly, featuring such attractions as kayaking, paddling, adjacent cycle trails as well as scenic walkways and visitor centres.
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.