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N59 roadworks set for twelve month tailback

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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It now appears that it could be over a year before any resurfacing work is carried out on the N59 – with efforts stymied by the presence of the protected pearl mussel in the Owenriff River catchment area.

Planning permission has already been granted to the TII (formerly the National Roads Authority) to upgrade the road from Oughterard to Clifden, on the condition the National Parks and Wildlife Services agreed to the works programme.

The Council have gone back to the drawing board a number of times to satisify their demands and though the NPWS have agreed to two works programmes, a final decision is expected by September 16 on a number of others covering various aspects of the work entailed.

But Liam Gavin, Director of Services for Roads and Transportation, told the Connemara Municipal District this week that it is impossible to go ahead with the upgrade without an agreement between the TII, Galway County Council and the NPWS.

Their concerns relate to a five kilometre section of the N59 between Oughterard and Maam Cross near the Owenriff River which might be threatened by any construction work.

Cllr Tom Welby said that he attended the oral hearing into the road project and that there were only a few landowners who objected as most people wanted to see the N59 improved and upgraded.

However, Mr Gavin did say that a resurfacing of about 17 kilometre of the road would cost €2.5million and could start next year if the TII made funding available.

The resurfacing of the road would certainly improve the road, known as probably the busiest routes in the country thanks to its popularity with tourists.

But Connemara councillors are afraid that such an outlay from the TII at this stage would put the N59 upgrade on the long finger.

Certain stretches of the road have been black tarred over the years but proposals to carry out a much bigger upgrade has meant this maintenance hadn’t been carried out and the road has fallen into disrepair in many spots.

Indeed, a campaigning group, mostly made up of Clifden business people, has been putting pressure on the Council and the TII to address the issue.

Councillors expressed their frustrations at this week’s meeting saying that the consultants hired by the Council are experienced and have given assurances that they can carry out the upgrade without infringing on the pearl mussel species.

There were high hopes for an upgrade for the N59 and both councillors and local people had been patient in recent years.

However, this week, councillors and officials appeared to be resigned that resurfacing work would have to be carried next year in the interest of road safety as the road was rapidly deteriorating waiting for the upgrade.

CITY TRIBUNE

Glass roof over Latin Quarter among raft of proposals to Galway City Council

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to put a roof over the Latin Quarter – with outdoor heaters to combat Galway’s changeable weather – is among a raft of suggestions that will be considered by the Council as it draws up the next City Development Plan.

The widespread use of outdoor theatre and extended opening hours for retail and cultural attractions are also on the cards as members of the public and lobby groups push for a city that offers the broadest range of tourist attractions.

As part of series of measures put forward to improve the outdoor offering in the city, one submission – which is understood to have been noted by the Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath in his report on plan, which is at ‘pre-draft’ stage – is to put a glass ceiling on the city centre’s main commercial thoroughfares.

Planners are currently considering the proposal as part of more than 500 submissions made to Council in the first public consultation for the document, which will shape development in the city for six years after 2023.

It’s proposed that by covering the length of Quay Street/Latin Quarter in high retractable glass panes ‘mounted on decorative supports’, and installing street heaters, ‘a comfortable outdoor ambiance could be created’.

This is one of almost 50 submissions made in the area of economic development, where the theme of improving the city’s night-time economy and tourism offering feature prominently.

In another submission from Fáilte Ireland, the tourism authority expresses its desire that the next City Development Plan should have a chapter dedicated to tourism, such is its importance to the city’s economic success.

As well as developing Galway’s growing reputation as a ‘foodie destination’, developing the night-time economy is identified as being ‘an important aspect of ensuring a vibrant city centre and means more than just developing a bar and restaurant culture’.
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

100 new jobs for Galway City Sports Direct outlet

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Sports Direct retail giant is set to create up to 100 new jobs when it takes over the former Debenhams department store in the Corrib Shopping Centre.

And the company’s sister outlet Heatons looks set to make a return to the city – possibly in the same building, although management are remaining tight-lipped.

Sports Direct has taken a lease on the Debenhams premises, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, and it will open in June.

“The 65,000 sq ft store will comprise four floors and will consist of Sports Direct, USC and Brand Max. 100 jobs for the store will be created,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Galway City Tribune.

The spokesperson could not confirm that the Heatons brand – which is also owned by English billionaire Mike Ashley – will also be opening as part of the move. The group is currently advertising for staff to work at a new Heatons store in Galway.
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

Forty firefighters tackle major blaze at Galway golf shop

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 40 firefighters from across the city and county fought a major fire at the GolfStyle superstore off the Tuam Road for around six hours on Thursday morning.

Gardaí on routine patrol in the Liosbán Business Park shortly before 3am noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building and immediately alerted the fire service.

The building, which was unoccupied at the time, is understood to have suffered major structural and roof damage in the fire that started in the first floor.

At one point, 11 fire engines from the city, Athenry, Loughrea, Carraroe and Gort fought the blaze, using water tankers and aerial ladders, as well as having a command unit in place.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus also had to force their way into the building to tackle the source of the fire, that possibly could have been caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was brought under control at around 7.30am, but the Fire Brigade remained at the scene for a number of hours afterwards in case of any secondary outbreak.
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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