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New investment likely in Galway Races

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New investment in Galway Races

The country’s horse racing governing body may plough money into further improving facilities at Ballybrit Racetrack after the Galway Races proved a galloping success again this year.

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is planning a new multi-million euros capital development fund and the smart money says it will back a winner and invest in Galway Racecourse.

The seven-day Galway Festival is the backbone of the racing industry, with Tote, on-course bookmakers and HRI heavily dependent on its success for revenue.

Total attendance at this year’s Galway Races was just shy of 140,000 over the bumper week, up 11,000 on last year.

The week’s turnover for on-course bookmakers increased by €600,000 to €8.4 million and the Tote was up by almost €750,000 to just over €5 million.

Galway Racecourse manager, John Moloney, described the 2014 racing festival as a “resounding success”.

“Overall it surpassed our expectations and we are getting very positive feedback . . . we are really pleased how the meeting went across the board,” he said.

Mr Moloney, who is also chairman of the Association of Irish Racecourses, said he would welcome a HRI capital investment fund to improve racecourses in 2015.

“I think racing has turned a corner and our members are ready to improve their facilities again. There was no capital development fund this year but I would welcome one now,” Mr Moloney told The Irish Field.

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI said the organisation is currently working with racecourses on developing plans to improve facilities over the next five and ten years.

Mr Kavanagh has indicated he will meet in the coming months with Galway racecourse to discuss future investment at Ballybrit.

“Galway has been a great success this year and great credit is due to John Moloney and the Galway Race Committee. The atmosphere was fantastic and it was very encouraging to see the growth in both bookmaker and Tote betting. Galway have developed their facilities with great foresight and we look forward to working with them on the next phase of their development,” Mr Kavanagh said.

Galway has already invested heavily in its facilities for race-goers in the past decade including revamping the old Corrib stand into the Killanin Stand, as well as adding the spectacular Millennium stand.

Mr Kavanagh has pointed out that over the past 15 years, some €200 million was invested for capital development of Irish racecourses, and €106 of this was funded by HRI.

He said HRI usually offers grants of 50%, with the racecourse stumping up the remainder.

CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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

Tourists duped in Galway City rental accommodation scam

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have issued another ‘beware’ warning in relation to scammers offering fictitious properties to rent in the city area.

The advice comes after a report of a several separate tourists from overseas calling to a house in Shantalla over recent weeks, thinking that they had booked rental accommodation.

It is understood that the fake rental offer had been made through a booking website, but it turned out to be a scam with the tourists having ‘parted’ weeks earlier with a deposit of several hundred euro.

Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that such rental scams were an ongoing reality in relation to the accommodation sector, especially in cities like Galway with huge rental markets for long-term and short-term lets.

He said that the first pieces of advice for anyone seeking to rent a property was to only do business with an established bona-fide rental agency and to always meet the prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.

Sgt Walsh said that the scammers also tended to be more active at times of the year when accommodation was in major demand as in the late-Summer/early-Autumn period as students returned to third level colleges.

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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