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CITY TRIBUNE

New pitch in swap for UHG’s ‘temporary’ helipad

Dara Bradley

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The helipad on the former Shantalla pitch.

A ‘temporary’ helipad built on community scrubland in Shantalla in 2013, which was supposed to be there for just six months, has become the busiest hospital helicopter landing-pad in the country.

The landing pad at University Hospital Galway – on lands loaned to the HSE by the City Council nearly six years ago – caters for 50% of the hospital helicopter movements in the country. A second helipad onsite cannot be used due to more stringent national regulations in relation to helicopter landings.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath said the helipad issue would be dealt with as part of an overall plan with the hospital.

He said that there was €100 million in the National Development Plan to build a new Emergency Department at UHG. That cannot go ahead without a traffic solution for the site, which the Council is devising, in consultation with the hospital authorities and National Transport Authority.

It includes creating two new entrances to the city hospital. One will be along Lower Newcastle Road to facilitate vehicular traffic, with the existing entrance at the traffic lights junction with University Road reserved for ambulances and buses. A second new entrance – for buses only – will be built out the back of the hospital along Séamus Quirke Road (SQR). It will be the beginning of a bus corridor through the hospital campus. This route will speed up the bus travel-times from the west to the east, via city centre, and will result in a continuous bus lane or bus priority corridor from SQR, into Eyre Square via Salmon Weir Bridge.

Cllr Collette Connolly (Ind) asked why UHG wasn’t using one of 13 surface car-parks on the site to facilitate a new helipad suggested that up to 500 cars parked illegally at the hospital every day.

Cllr Billy Cameron (Lab) said the Council was “duped” by the HSE when it said that the helipad would be temporary, but he recognised that it was an essential facility for Coast Guard and emergency hospital helicopter landings. Mr McGrath indicated that a new sports field at Shantalla would be provided to the community.

CITY TRIBUNE

Glass roof over Latin Quarter among raft of proposals to Galway City Council

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to put a roof over the Latin Quarter – with outdoor heaters to combat Galway’s changeable weather – is among a raft of suggestions that will be considered by the Council as it draws up the next City Development Plan.

The widespread use of outdoor theatre and extended opening hours for retail and cultural attractions are also on the cards as members of the public and lobby groups push for a city that offers the broadest range of tourist attractions.

As part of series of measures put forward to improve the outdoor offering in the city, one submission – which is understood to have been noted by the Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath in his report on plan, which is at ‘pre-draft’ stage – is to put a glass ceiling on the city centre’s main commercial thoroughfares.

Planners are currently considering the proposal as part of more than 500 submissions made to Council in the first public consultation for the document, which will shape development in the city for six years after 2023.

It’s proposed that by covering the length of Quay Street/Latin Quarter in high retractable glass panes ‘mounted on decorative supports’, and installing street heaters, ‘a comfortable outdoor ambiance could be created’.

This is one of almost 50 submissions made in the area of economic development, where the theme of improving the city’s night-time economy and tourism offering feature prominently.

In another submission from Fáilte Ireland, the tourism authority expresses its desire that the next City Development Plan should have a chapter dedicated to tourism, such is its importance to the city’s economic success.

As well as developing Galway’s growing reputation as a ‘foodie destination’, developing the night-time economy is identified as being ‘an important aspect of ensuring a vibrant city centre and means more than just developing a bar and restaurant culture’.
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

100 new jobs for Galway City Sports Direct outlet

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Sports Direct retail giant is set to create up to 100 new jobs when it takes over the former Debenhams department store in the Corrib Shopping Centre.

And the company’s sister outlet Heatons looks set to make a return to the city – possibly in the same building, although management are remaining tight-lipped.

Sports Direct has taken a lease on the Debenhams premises, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, and it will open in June.

“The 65,000 sq ft store will comprise four floors and will consist of Sports Direct, USC and Brand Max. 100 jobs for the store will be created,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Galway City Tribune.

The spokesperson could not confirm that the Heatons brand – which is also owned by English billionaire Mike Ashley – will also be opening as part of the move. The group is currently advertising for staff to work at a new Heatons store in Galway.
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

Forty firefighters tackle major blaze at Galway golf shop

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 40 firefighters from across the city and county fought a major fire at the GolfStyle superstore off the Tuam Road for around six hours on Thursday morning.

Gardaí on routine patrol in the Liosbán Business Park shortly before 3am noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building and immediately alerted the fire service.

The building, which was unoccupied at the time, is understood to have suffered major structural and roof damage in the fire that started in the first floor.

At one point, 11 fire engines from the city, Athenry, Loughrea, Carraroe and Gort fought the blaze, using water tankers and aerial ladders, as well as having a command unit in place.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus also had to force their way into the building to tackle the source of the fire, that possibly could have been caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was brought under control at around 7.30am, but the Fire Brigade remained at the scene for a number of hours afterwards in case of any secondary outbreak.
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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