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CITY TRIBUNE

New hurling structure could finally see home championship games for Galway

Stephen Glennon

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Galway's Joe Canning in action against Limerick in last month's league semi-final.

New p12lans to restructure the inter-county hurling championships at minor, U-21 and senior could finally see the Tribesmen playing senior championship matches on home soil and the county’s minors and U-21 teams included in a structure offering them a meaningful series of games.

The announcement by GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaile last week that discussions were in place to revise the senior hurling championship along the lines of the new ‘Super 8’ format in football has been greeted positively by GAA officials in this county.

Indeed, Galway Hurling Committee Chairman Michael Larkin believes the GAA’s plans, which Ó Fearghaile indicated would be unveiled next month, will go beyond the senior grade and also address the lack of competition Galway’s minor and U-21 hurlers have had over the last number of decades.

“The only thing we can say is that we would be optimistic that there could be changes to the minor and U-21 structure which would be beneficial to Galway in terms of giving us games,” says Larkin. “I could see that as being part of the (overall) package that could come into existence in 2018 as well.”

For years, Galway have been campaigning for change in the hurling championships across the board, which, of course, led to the county’s senior and intermediate hurlers being subsumed into the Leinster championship in 2009.

However, with no home games forthcoming, and the minors and U-21s left out in the cold, Galway’s hurling fraternity became increasingly concerned that these issues were impacting on the development and promotion of hurling West of the Shannon.

Added to this, with the GAA subsequently endorsing a new ‘Super 8’ format for the senior Gaelic football championship at Congress earlier this year, GAA officials across the country felt hurling could be “a long way behind in terms of games and the media coverage needed to ensure hurling remains where it should be at”.

Larkin continues: “I think Aogán O’Fearghaile and Pauric Duffy (Ard Stiúrthóir) in Croke Park recognised this. They would be very much in favour of the restructuring of the hurling championships. So, while we have nothing concrete and nothing definite, I think quite an amount of discussion has taken place on this.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island

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Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.

A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.

Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.

It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.

Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.

Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.

It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.

In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”

It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.

“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.

“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”

Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.

The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
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

‘Detractors’ could hold up €10m Spanish Arch flood defence scheme

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has warned that the Office of Public Works and Galway City Council “may end up in the High Court” if they attempt to expedite plans for the €10 million flood defence scheme for the Spanish Arch and Docks areas.

Speaking at an Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting last week, the Minister for the Office of Public Works admitted his frustration at the length of time such projects take.

But he said that if he and the OPW attempted to “shave off time” in moving the project forwards, they would have to be mindful of “detractors” making accusations later and there being a legal challenge.

He was responding to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell, who said it was likely to be 2028 before the flood prevention works would be completed.

“It was revealed in November that it will be at least eight years before long-awaited flood defences are completed in the Spanish Arch and Docks areas – with the City Council estimating that it will be towards the end of 2028 before works conclude,” said Deputy Farrell.

Minister O’Donovan said: “The OPW is committed. There is money available. We do not have a worry about allocating money for capital spending. I say to Deputy Farrell, and to Galway City Council, that, if we can shave off time in advancing projects, we will gladly do so, but we have to be mindful of the fact that if our detractors make accusations later, we may end up in the High Court. We do not want that.”

(Photo: Flood Street in February 2014. Spanish Arch, Fishmarket Square and the Docks areas were flooded in storm weather during high tide. PHOTO BY JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY)
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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