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CITY TRIBUNE

Mervue Utd are fast out of blocks in bid to retain league title

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Jackson Da Silva (left) celebrates his early goal for Athenry FC in their 3-2 Premier League win over Loughrea Rams with team-mates Stephen Cunningham and Stephen Relihan. EIREFOTO

By Mike Rafferty

AT the end of last season just one point separated Mervue United and runners up Athenry in the Premier League, but just a week into the new campaign it appears that the old order is changing. Three games in and the defending champions have a full quota of points, but for Athenry they already lie six points behind as they followed up an opening day loss against Salthill Devon, with a defeat against Mervue on Saturday.

Just like they did last season, Mervue appear to find goals easy to come by and with the dynamic duo of Barry Moran and Enda Curran restored to the front line for the weekend contest, they just add so much to a side that might be ordinary without them.

Andrew Connolly has also added goals to his repertiore to supplement their contribution, but in contrast Athenry are struggling in the last third of the park, as they have failed to hit the target in games against the top two. Meanwhile, they did pick up their first points of the campaign with a 3-2 mid-week win over Loughrea.

It looks a long way back for Davie Crimmon’s side, but a squad with much the same personel as last season should be competitive enough to maintain a challenge, but they need their strikers to start hitting the target in order to get them back into contention.

Elsewhere, Salthill Devon remain unbeaten after three games as they lie second in the table, while West United also have full points from their opening two games.

Premier League

 Mervue United 3

 Athenry 0

For almost an hour this Premier Division tie at Fahy’s Field was competitive, but after Enda Curran notched his second of the day to make it three, the game was over as a contest as Athenry heads dropped while the hosts made it 13 goals for their opening three games.

That is the type of finishing power so lacking in Athenry and in an opening half in which they were competitive, seldom did they look like they had the ability to break the deadlock. They enjoyed more than their fair share of possession, but only a Colm O’Donovan effort extended Peter Healy.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Covid could leave Galway City Council with €25m budget hole

Stephen Corrigan

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Shop STreet this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is facing into a “potential crisis scenario” with a forecasted €25 million black hole in its budget, unless the Government comes good on a promise to plug the gap left by Covid-19.

That’s according to City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath who told councillors this week that the commercial rates waiver introduced by Government and a drop in income from goods and services provided by the local authority could slash their forecast annual revenue by 25%.

Mr McGrath said the last Government, when it introduced the rates waiver for cash-strapped businesses in March, had committed to €260 million to be put aside to bolster local authority finances, but no detail of how that will be rolled out had been provided.

“We are hoping as part of the July stimulus package, the new Government will give us the detail we so desperately need,” he said.

“Our rates standing orders have been wiped out to the tune of 90%.”

Tourism was crucial to the economic success of Galway, he continued, with approximately 80% of city businesses reliant on tourists to stay afloat.

“We have the highest percentage dependency of any local authority on rates from the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Mr McGrath.

It was for that reason that the Executive was seeking councillors’ approval to free up €485,000 of the so-called ‘Marketing Sinking Fund’ to finance a raft of tourism initiatives aimed at boosting the local economy by attracting domestic tourists as Covid-related restrictions are eased, in what Mr McGrath referred to as “temporary internal borrowing”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, and more on the tourism promotion plans, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Seafront prom and new train station planned for Murrough

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A vision of a new urban district on GMIT lands at Murrough – including a seafront promenade and new train station – has been submitted to Government for funding approval.

Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has outlined a plan to ‘leverage’ land and resources of the third level institute to create a new East City Urban District.

Mr McGrath has included the plans in an application for funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

The total value of the project would be €61 million, he said, which values the land at Murrough at about €14 million.

“We are seeking URDF investment to activate these sites as catalysts to boost population and economic output for the city and region,” Mr McGrath told city councillors.

He said that by leveraging the lands at GMIT, the Council was delivering on a target in the National Planning Framework 2040, which states there should be “special focus on capitalising on the potential of underutilised and publicly owned and centrally located sites”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Plans to double size of Galway City student complex

Enda Cunningham

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A computer-generated image of how the new Cúirt na Coiribe would look.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The investment fund which owns the Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation complex on the Headford Road is planning to more than double the number of bed spaces there to 920.

Exeter Property Group, one of the biggest property investment groups in the world, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission to demolish a two-storey building to the front of the development and to remove the existing fifth floor attic level from the next block.

The proposal involves extending upwards and outwards to create a total of 920 bed spaces in 868 bedrooms in a single building with nine linked blocks ranging from two to six storeys.

The project includes a gym/fitness studio in the basement, a games room, library/study spaces, café/restaurant and lounge spaces.

There will be 59 carparking spaces and 656 cycle spaces included. A total of 398 of the 405 existing bed spaces will be retained.

It is proposed that the existing bed spaces will retain their original planning permission which allows for short-stay lets throughout the year, and the additional 515 spaces would only be permitted to be used as short-stay lets during the summer months.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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