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NAMA progresses plans for 300 Knocknacarra homes

Enda Cunningham

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NAMA has sought five more years to develop 300 homes as well as retail units, a bar, restaurant and offices on a site in Knocknacarra.

Once valued at €80 million at the height of the boom, the development would now be worth around €30m.

The National Asset Management Agency said that because of the property crash, the project was not viable, until now.

The 23-acre site on the Upper Ballymoneen Road in the townlands of Ballyburke, Mincloon and Keeraun had been owned by Galway ‘Tiger’ developers Declan Gardiner, Joe McGrath and Martin Kearns, but was seized by NAMA in August 2012.

Receivers Con Cronin and Roger Keogh pointed out that when planning permission was granted (by An Bord Pleanála) in 2009, house prices were in the process of dropping by 60% in the city.

They said the developers were not in a position to secure funding and the market continued to deteriorate, leading to them being appointed receivers by NAMA.

The developers had originally sought permission for around 360 homes, but subsequently reduced this to 299 residential units following discussions with planners.

The plans involve the demolition of two existing houses, sheds and outbuildings and the construction of crèche, three retail units (225 square metres) and three office units (212 sqm) and a bar/restaurant (512 sqm).

The site lies beyond Council-owned land opposite the Slí Gheal and Fána Búrca estates.

The residential element involves 299 units in varying design and form, in two and three storey blocks, bin storage, ESB substation, surface and basement car parking and three vehicular access points and road widening along Ballymoneen Road.

NAMA has now sought a five-year Extension of Duration on the planning permission – which is set to expire in July – claiming the development will be completed by the end of 2018.

“The proposed site has remained undeveloped since permission was granted in 2009. The original applicant was not in a position to secure funding for the development and the market deteriorated rapidly in the intervening years, which led to the applicant entering into receivership. Both the local and national property market has declined significantly since the grant of permission.

“On average, house prices have dropped from peak levels by 58.7% in Galway City. The average price for a three-bed unit in Galway City has dropped from €287,000 at the end of 2008 to €130,000 at the end of 2013.

“This has had a dramatic effect on those investing in properties as sites were purchased base on Q4 2008 prices. The subsequent collapse in house prices reduced the viability of the subject development, until now.

“It is the intention of the appointed receiver to ensure that this development is completed and this can only be achieved if an Extension of Duration is granted,” the application reads.

A decision is expected from city planners in mid-April.

Connacht Tribune

Cherish every moment; hug and kiss your loved ones every night

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Happier days…Geraldine Mullan with her husband John and their children Tomas and Amelia.

Last August, GERALDINE MULLAN (née Connaughton) endured an unfathomable nightmare, losing her husband and two children in a crash that she herself was lucky to survive. Here the Williamstown native writes of life since – and how the support of so many has helped her over the last three months.

My husband John was a fan of Bruce Springsteen. In normal circumstances he would be currently enjoying Bruce’s latest album “Letter to You” and taking particular interest in the songs, especially the one entitled “House of a Thousand Guitars” (given John’s love of that instrument).

But these are not normal days and instead it is me appraising the new offering from The Boss and taking poignant note of some of the other lyrical melodies on the album, particularly those entitled “One Minute You’re Here” and “I’ll See You in my Dreams”.

These two songs in particular speak to my situation and have become musical reminders of my beloved departed, my husband John and our children Tomas and Amelia, who were cruelly taken from this world in late August of this year.

Since the tragedy unfolded, I have been surrounded by many wonderful people and wrapped up in their familial and communal embraces, all united in offering me solace, comfort, assistance and no end of love, understanding and compassion.

I stand each day and get through it, in no small part, due to the continuous support you provide to me.

Such is the outpouring and swell of sympathy and empathy alike, and many are the calls, messages, cards, letters, flowers, gifts, acts of service and human kindness which have reached my Moville doorstep, that I am truly overwhelmed, very much humbled and ever-grateful.

I am genuinely appreciative of it all and your love and caring has taken root in my heart and in my head. That being said, I am unable to respond to everyone individually, therefore this is my “Letter to You”, my simple way of acknowledgement and sincere thanks.

You can read Geraldine’s full, heart-breaking letter in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Early Christmas box for 13,500 Galway farmers

Francis Farragher

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CLOSE on 13,500 Galway farmers should be getting an early ‘Christmas Box’ this week with the final tranche of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) monies being paid out – ‘bang on schedule’, according to Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue.

Back in October, farmers got the 70% advance payment in BPS with a commitment given at the time that the balance would be paid out in early December – balancing payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme are scheduled to commence next week.

Total BPS payments to Galway’s 13,500 farmers come to just over €82 million, according to figures released by local TDs this week, with the average individual payment per farmer working out at just over €6,000.

East Galway TD and Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte, said that the final tranche of the BPS payments was a most welcome one for thousands of farmers across the county after a most difficult year.

“The really important thing about these payments is that they are being made on schedule and they will help a lot of farmers to ‘balance the books’ for 2020,” said Minister of State, Rabbitte.

The Minister for Agriculture also confirmed this week that payments under the 2020 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme will also commence alongside payment of the 2020 BPS balancing payment – this will also benefit a significant number of Galway farmers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Baby born in a hurry outside Ford garage – and he’s called Henry!

Denise McNamara

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Baby Henry Dyar with proud parents Lisa and Robert, and big brother Darragh.

There was only one choice of name for a new arrival born in a hurry outside a Ford garage, almost in the passenger seat of a Ford Mondeo – he was always going to be Henry after that.

And after his speedy arrival in the middle of a nationwide go-slow, little Henry Dyar is thriving – despite arriving three weeks ahead of schedule.

Mum Lisa McCauley was thankfully on alert as she had been caught out before; her first born son Darragh had arrived a month early two years ago.

So when she began to feel the first twinges of labour at 6.30am on November 17 – and after contacting the maternity ward in University Hospital Galway – she and husband Robert Dyar organised a babysitter for Darragh and headed out on the motorway from their home in Loughrea.

As they were approaching Oranmore and the traffic was beginning to build, Lisa was hit with the realisation that she would not make it as far as the hospital.

So the quick-thinking Garda called Mill Street Station requesting an escort to bring her the rest of the way.

She was met at the top of Bothar na Treabh by a patrol car, who had pulled in off the Kirwan roundabout beside Sheil’s Motorpark garage.

But by then things had progressed beyond the point of no return.

Read the full happy ending in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. 

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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