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Neighbours’ relief as derelict house up for sale

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Neighbours living beside a derelict site, that was attracting an unsavoury element and causing huge problems for those trying to sell their homes, have welcomed the news that the house is now up for auction.

Late last year, City Councillor, Donal Lyons, called on the individual or institution that owned 54 Cruachan Park, Rahoon, to either restore or sell the detached house, before it was razed to the ground altogether.

“It was very hard to find out who the legal owners were,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

“We had also requested the City Council to get the owners to make it secure.”

At the time, the state of the four-bed property was said to be devaluing the whole area, but also the quality of life of residents living nearby.

The windows of the particular house had been broken again, the internal walls were damaged, fires were regularly being lit inside, and unruly groups were holding almost nightly parties inside.

Things came to a head, however, when residents witnessed “a mini-riot” outside the property. Cllr Lyons said that Gardaí were powerless, as there had been no complaint made by the owner.

“That’s the difficulty with this house and similar properties – residents are in ‘no man’s land’,” he said at the time.

“Who do they turn to in the present situation? They want it safeguarded, so that people don’t have access to it in the future. Otherwise, it will become an eyesore.”

The worst fear for neighbours, he said, was that the house would be burned to the ground by revellers, referring to a case on the Ballymoneen Road, where the owner eventually had to demolish the property altogether.

Galway City Council’s powers were restricted under the Derelict Sites Act 1990, and it had to go through the slow process to rectify the situation. Following on from an inspection by a community warden in October, the registered owners – a couple with an address in Ballyglunin, Tuam – were traced through a search of the Land Registry, and a notice was issued to them.

This stated that Galway City Council intended to put the property on the register of derelict sites unless certain works were carried out within a 28-day period to remove ‘the indication of dereliction’.

Since then, the property was boarded up and this had the effect of cutting out the anti-social behaviour, and the house has now been put on the market.

“We are delighted to hear that it is for sale, and there will be some comfort for neighbours that the property will be taken on possibly by a family,” Cllr Lyons said yesterday.

“It is a nice neighbourhood and a fine house.”

O’Donnellan & Joyce have advertised the house on its list of properties to be sold by auction on June 27. With an advised minimum value is €130,000, the house is described as being in need of refurbishment, but one which would appeal to a DIY enthusiast, as it offers a blank canvas.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway is seventh-worst city in Europe for car traffic congestion

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Car traffic congestion in Galway is quickly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, with commuters spending up to 94 hours caught on the city’s gridlocked arteries last year.

According to data compiled by INRIX, a world-leader in mobility data, Galway is the seventh-worst city in Europe for congestion, an 84% increase on its position in 2021.

The data shows that Galway places in the worst 50 cities in the world for congestion – taking 39th place, with Dublin the only other Irish city placing higher at Number 12.

While the figures show that car traffic has not fully returned to pre-Covid levels, the 2022 figures came within 13% of 2019 congestion rates.

This was despite vast numbers continuing to work from home last year, a worrying trend according to the local People Before Profit representative Adrian Curran.

In Cork, Limerick and Dublin, there had been a more lasting effect, showing decreases of 20%, 26% and 29% respectively, he said.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway 2020 paid €110,000 for PR while cutting spends on arts events

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From this week’s City Tribune – Galway 2020’s bank account statements for five months of 2020 reveal thousands of euro were spent on public relations firms and media advertising when its cultural programme was being cut and ‘revised’ during the upheaval at the onset of Covid-19.

The AIB statements date from April to September of 2020, when Covid-19 had seriously curtailed cultural activities of Galway 2020, the company behind the city and county’s European Capital of Culture. They show more than €110,000 was paid to Dublin-based public relations firm Q4 PR, in three separate payments in April, May and June of 2020.

Thousands more were paid to other public relations firms, radio stations and, to a lesser extent, newspapers.

In March of that year, Galway 2020 announced it was reviewing its programme of events due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Government after a global pandemic was declared, curtailing all events.

On April 7, it confirmed it was laying off staff and had ended its agreement with Helen Marriage and Artichoke which was providing creative direction.

Later that month, it issued statements to say it was exploring a ‘re-imagined’ programme of events to take place at the end of 2020 and 2021.

Although the amounts paid to media and PR companies other than Q4 PR are relatively small, compared with expenditure on other headings, the payments suggest the importance Galway 2020 placed on image and public perception around that time.

The bank statements were released to the Galway City Tribune following a protracted Freedom of Information request and after an appeal to the Office of Information Commissioner.

Many of the payees in the bank statements were redacted but the names of several PR and media organisations are listed as having been paid by Galway 2020.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article with details of the spending, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also coverage of this week’s rebranding and new vision of Galway 2020. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Plans for major upgrade of community centre to benefit Mervue

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Plans for a major overhaul of the community centre in the basement of Mervue Church – including activity rooms, a meeting room, training space and a hairdressing salon – have been lodged at City Hall.

It will employ more than 20 people on a full and part-time basis – including Community Employment Scheme workers.

COPE Galway has sought planning permission for a series of changes to the Holy Family Church including alterations to the basement layout; a new main entrance; concrete stairs from the carpark and the reopening of windows at basement level.

“The proposed refurbished and upgraded community centre will provide a vibrant and dynamic space for the community of Mervue. The space will act as a central hub and meeting place which can be used for a variety of community activities, meetings and events,” the application reads.

It notes a series of “typical occupants” including: reception;  an information hub; general activity room (arts and crafts, games and light exercise); sensory/meditation room; clinic room for health checks and physiotherapy; space for people with dementia; toilets and shower room; pet therapy area; space for teens/young adults; laundry; hairdressing salon; computer training room; meeting room (with possibility of rental to local groups); small café and kitchen, space for a men’s shed and an outside garden with seating area.

“The centre will also provide employment and will be staffed with a diversity of employees, including Community Employment Scheme workers and volunteers of differing age and other social demographics,” the application reads.

Image: An artist’s impression of the cafe in the proposed centre.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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