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New homes plan sparks safety worries for schoolkids



Three residents’ associations have appealed plans to build six new duplex homes off Taylor’s Hill in Galway on the grounds the development would lead to traffic chaos during school runs.

Residents said the thought of the cars reversing in the development “puts shivers down our spines”.

In May, Galway City Council granted permission for a block of 1 one-bed, two 2-bed and three 3-bed apartments at Taylor’s Hill Court on Rosary Lane.

The application was made Declan Taite and Anne O’Dwyer of Duff & Phelps, who were appointed as receivers over assets of Model Investment Partnership, which is connected through common directorships to the Kenny Group.

The site has an existing apartment development of 14 units and is located on an access road which also leads directly to the Dominican College.

The new homes would remove the existing carparking area and reposition it adjacent to the roadway and to the west of the site.

The receivers’ plan was initially for eight units, but this was reduced following concerns expressed by the Council.

The Council’s grant of permission has now been jointly appealed by Devon Court Residents’ Association, Devon Gardens Residents’ Association and Devon Park Residents’ Association.

“Our primary concerns are in relation to the impact this development will have on the traffic chaos and indiscriminate parking of cars along the network of roads in the immediate vicinity, at peak school opening and closing times, several times per day,” the appeal reads.

The residents referenced a previous An Bord Pleanála decision refusing permission for a similar development on the site, which the board ruled would “endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard and obstruction of road users”.

“It is obvious to anyone who observes the daily chaos of traffic along the link road to the existing and proposed new residential units at Taylor’s Hill Court, that the inclusion of off-road parking for 24 cars will seriously affect the already difficult egress and exit of car drivers along this road.

“The prospect of 24 residents trying to reverse out of their car parking spaces in order to exit this link road at peak times puts shivers down out spines.

“This link road is used by small children walking to Scoil Róis primary school around the corner. Secondary school pupils walk on both the footpaths and the road, often looking at their phones as teenagers are wont to do.

“Pupils cycle along the road, with other pupils regularly alighting from both sides of cars which stop along both sides of the link road and then cross from one side to the other.

“We have become aware recently that an access has had to be created from Scoil Róis into the grounds at the back of the Dominican secondary school in order to allow ambulance access to the secondary school in the case of an emergency. This was required as the link road is often so congested that an ambulance could not gain access.

“The provision of eight set-down spaces on each side of Rosary Lane in the past month cannot be regarded as anything other than a minimal response to the current traffic congestion and hazard in the area,” the appeal reads.

The residents’ associations also raised concerns about open space requirements and the loss of amenity to existing residents in the locality.

“The residents of the existing apartments will in fact be looking out onto a three-storey apartment block,” the residents said, adding that the apartments would lead to an increase in noise levels leading to a loss of amenity for the surrounding lower density housing.


Concerns over reopening of Middle Arch on Tuesday



A Galway City Councillor has given a cautious welcome but has also raised concerns over the reopening of the ‘Middle Arch’ beside the Claddagh Basin next Tuesday.

Access was closed to the public last May following requests from the Gardai due to large crowds that had gathered in the days previously amid fears of it becoming a serious health and safety risk.

The concerns were raised by Cllr. Niall McNelis who said that a cautious welcome should be given but that the possibility of closing it in evenings needs to be seriously looked at.

He said “The decision to close it was earlier in year was due to it had become an area where large groups had gathered drinking and had led to calls by locals that it had become a serious health and safety risk. The area also does not have safety barriers and this has led to persons falling into the water in the past.

“Recently there has been a large number of calls made that the area should be reopened and that public space be made available to the public.”

Cllr. McNelis also said that a cautious welcome should be given but that the possibility of closing it in evenings needs to be seriously looked at.

“We can not have the same scenes repeated as we did earlier this year and in previous years. House gardens and Claddagh church grounds were used as toilets and large amounts of litter mainly drink, was left behind. I have met a number of residents this weekend who are not happy with decision and calls have been made by them to have it closed in evenings by City Council and Gardai should assist in clearing area if needs be.

“We do not have enough Garda personnel to have proper policing in our city, we need more resources for the city to tackle and enforce anti social behaviour.

“I have met this week with Gardai and have been given assurances that this will be closely monitored and occasions such as exam results nights, freshers week and good weather will be monitored,” he said.

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Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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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Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault



Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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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