The National Asset Management Agency is expected to begin work next year on a massive expansion of the Gateway Retail Park in Knocknacarra, which will include new retail units, restaurants – including a KFC drive-thru – and a primary healthcare facility.
Receivers working on behalf of NAMA have indicated that work on the complex – known locally as the Knocknacarra Shopping Centre, which is anchored by Dunnes and B&Q – will be completed in January 2019, citing an upturn in the economy.
Michael Coyle and Simon Davidson of HWBC Allsop seized the entire development and its 52 acres on behalf of NAMA in January 2012.
They were subsequently granted an extension of time on planning permission to build out Phase 2, on which work was halted in 2007, because of the collapse of the country’s economy.
The site will be used to develop a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art primary health care facility – designed specifically for the HSE.
Meanwhile, Mr Coyle has now sought an extension of time to build a KFC drive-thru restaurant at the development.
They said work is expected to commence in the next 12-18 months, following the recent upturn in the economy.
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Salthill’s ‘Heart of Hope’ a beacon of light for frontline workers
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A giant illuminated heart has been erected on the Big Wheel at Curry’s Funpark in Leisureland as a poignant symbol of hope and expression of gratitude for the country’s healthcare workers.
Last month, preparations got underway to set up the fun fair, but it became yet another casualty of Covid-19. Owner Owen Curry got to work on constructing a blue ‘Heart of Hope, An Croí Gorm’ with LED lights to attach to the 120-foot wheel overlooking the Prom.
Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, he had the heart in place on the axle of the Big Wheel within a day.
“I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab technicians and everybody working in the health service how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis.
“When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid air over the Prom,” he said.
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ICU consultant reveals intensive planning ahead of peak Covid demand
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A consultant in critical care at Galway’s biggest hospital has assured the public that there is still significant capacity for very ill patients fighting Covid-19.
But to help University Hospital Galway best cope with the expected surge in numbers within the next two weeks, Consultant Intensivist John Bates has pleaded with the public to follow the strict public health guidelines about staying at home.
“There’s been a lot going on – a lot of retraining, a lot of redeployment, a lot of up-equipping. We normally have twelve ventilator beds and we’re up to 24 at this stage and have significant capacity. We’re working to get beyond that but we certainly have capacity at the moment,” he told the Galway City Tribune.
Asked if the hospital would be able to cope with the peak of the pandemic – tipped to hit in the next fortnight – he said there were no guarantees.
“It depends on the size of the surge. We can’t say for sure how big the surge will be. It’s a new disease and models of how it will go are different – in some we will be okay and others we will struggle,” Dr Bates said.
“The curve appears to be flattening. Dublin is starting to come under pressure accessing critical care beds. It’s likely we will at some stage here too. But we have good capacity at this stage.”
The number of healthcare workers who will likely be affected by the pandemic has been factored into the hospital’s readiness plans. In China, ten per cent of critical care staff were out of action while in Italy it has reached 20 per cent.
Despite the high risks facing hospital staff, Dr Bates believes morale at UHG is good.
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Galway CIty Council takes ‘wait and see’ approach to emergency cuts
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A revised, emergency budget with swingeing cuts to non-essential services may have to be introduced by Galway City Council if the Covid-19 crisis is prolonged and income from commercial rates, parking and rents from social housing dries up.
However, the local authority for now is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, and has no immediate plans to introduce a ‘slash and burn’ budget.
Some 38% of the Council’s income of €100 million comes from commercial rates paid by businesses, which in 2020 equates to €38 million.
About 60% of all the rates collected – roughly €22.5 million – comes from the hospitality and general retail sector, which has been most badly hit by mandatory and voluntary closures to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Government has confirmed that businesses have a three-month ‘holiday’ on paying commercial rates, although pressure is mounting from business groups for rates bills relating to the period of Covid-19 closures to be written off.
Regardless of the outcome of that lobbying, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council concedes that some city businesses simply will not survive this turbulent time – and that will have a knock-on effect on the local authority’s income.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of the coronavirus impact on Galway, buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95 HERE. Remember, without advertising revenue and people buying our papers, this website would not be here. Thank you for your support.