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Multinational says city centre offices essential for opening in Galway



A major international company has refused to relocate in Galway unless the dated Hynes Building in the city centre gets an extensive overhaul, the building’s owners have claimed.

The company, which does not have a presence in Ireland, has identified the building on St Augustine Street as the only one that can meet its requirements.

It comes just weeks after the Galway City Tribune reported the city is unable to attract major international employers because of a lack of ‘high-spec’ city centre office space.

Dublin-based O’Malley Property Ltd, which owns the Hynes Building, already has the “high-quality FDI (Foreign Director Investment) tenant” lined up for the building. The library on the ground floor will remain in place.

The plans include an overhaul to the front of the building, a change of use of office type on the ground floor and first floor, and the construction of 97 square metres of new office space through removal and infill works.

According to the applicants, the tenant wants to locate in Galway City, and there is no other suitable office space available in the city centre.

“This tenant wishes to locate to Ireland and specifically to Galway City. There are no other suitable buildings in the city centre area that are capable of being upgraded to meet the requirements of this specific tenant within the necessary timeframe.

“It is understood that this tenant will not relocate to Galway (or indeed Ireland) if this building is not upgraded within the required timeframe.

“The Hynes Building dates from the 1970s and is now dated in terms of its appearance and the building services are obsolete, the building requires significant investment in order to return it to being a high-quality modern commercial premises.

“The development if permitted would result in the provision of an office with a large floorplate that will attract a specific high-quality FDI occupant, new to Galway (and Ireland), thus, the creation of new jobs in the city; the modernisation and upgrade of an existing building and improvements to the visual appearance of a city centre building.

“It is proposed to modernise and replace the ground floor windows. The doors to the main entrance lobby will also be replaced and the one, which served the former Social Protection office, will be replaced by a window,” the application reads.

Windows and spandrel panels on the upper floors and to the sides of the building will also be replaced.

A decision is expected from planners at the end of the month.

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots



The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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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Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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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