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CITY TRIBUNE

Minister sets up task force for city’s infrastructure

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A strategic action group comprised of government officials and senior council representatives is to be tasked with planning and delivering major infrastructure projects for Galway, such as Parkmore traffic relief, the Docks regeneration and the new town of Ardaun.

The establishment of the ‘Galway Delivery Team’ has been directed by Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English to prepare a “work programme” for key projects in the region.

The move is a result of a meeting set up by Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton between business leaders and Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney in March.

In a letter sent by Minister English to the chief executives of Galway’s two local authorities this week, he requested that the high-powered ‘Delivery Team’ be set up within weeks and hold its first meeting by the end of this month.

Mr English, the Minister of State in Simon Coveney’s department, specifically refers to transport issues at Parkmore, the development of the Docks area and the Ardaun corridor as infrastructure projects that could be overseen by the body.

Deputy Naughton welcomed the move and explained how the new strategic action group will be expected to operate.

“This arises from a meeting that I arranged with Simon Coveney in early March, at which we discussed the traffic-congestion crisis affecting Parkmore; and I have been very pleased by his response,” said the Fine Gael TD.

“Our local authorities have been asked to arrange for the establishment of the Galway Delivery Team, which will be comprised of senior council officials and officials from Minister Coveney’s department.

“This is a massive opportunity to progress a number of major infrastructure projects in Galway, which will shape the development and growth of the county for generations,” she explained.

“Many of these are projects that I have prioritised and sought to advance since my election, and there is firm support for these from central government. It is up to the local authorities get workable plans ready for investment and progress.”

In his letter, Minister English noted that similar strategic groups had been “instrumental” in securing recent investments under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund.

“Recognising that Galway is one of the most dynamic city regions on the island, is a major economic driver for the west, there are several projects and initiatives that would benefit from a joined-up approach.

“For example, the development potential of both the City Docks regeneration area, the Ardaun Corridor, managing mobility and planning issues around the Parkmore area . . . are good examples of strategic proposals that demand a combined city and county and national level approach,” he wrote.

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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