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New TV series to put the focus on city’s wildlife

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Galway’s wildest, yet most secretive, inhabitants – the animals that live here – are to be the stars of a new television series being transmitted next month.

Starting on Sunday, May 8 on RTÉ 1 at 6.30pm, ‘Wild Cities’ is a fascinating four-part series set on the streets of Galway, Dublin, Cork and Belfast, focusing on each city’s wildlife.

“This is a really exciting new series for RTÉ. We wanted to track down the wild animals that have adapted to living alongside humans, but few of us notice.

“There are so many intriguing stories to tell. These are clever, tenacious, opportunistic animals, such as the urban fox, pigeon and the Herring Gull, who – love them or hate them – have found a niche in our most densely populated places,” said a spokesperson for Crossing the Line Films, the producers of the series.

The Galway episode goes out first.

Local bird expert, John Lusby, acts as guide to the wildlife of Galway City, from adorable cygnets taking to the water for the first time to stunning slow motion footage of the Lesser Horseshoe bats of Menlo Castle, otters in the city’s canals, and sleeping Barn Owl chicks.

John Lusby will show viewers the wildlife and wild places hidden in plain sight on the streets and surrounds of Galway City. There are creatures to meet and marvel at around every corner.

Featuring the otters who have made Galway’s canals their home, Salmon battling their way upstream at the city’s iconic weir, starlings coming to roost above the oblivious heads of passers by in Eyre Square and hungry Barn Owl chicks at feeding time, this promises to be an hour of enchanting and eye-opening natural history television.

Zoologist Rob Gandola conducts the journey of discovery through a Dublin rarely seen, in the episode of May 15, to witness the Fallow deer rut in Phoenix Park; Irish mountain hares thriving in a Dublin Airport car park; frogs and foxes in back gardens across the city; and Herring Gulls raising their chicks on the rooftop of Easons on O’Connell St.

In Cork, in the episode of May 22, Environmental scientist Tara Shine visits a winter roost of Pied Wagtails on Grand Parade; looks for wildlife among the dead in a city cemetery; and finds Grey Herons begging for scraps outside the English Market and exotic terrapins turning up in Cork’s wild waterways.

Biologist Simon Watt takes a boat journey around Belfast Harbour (May 29) to see basking seals; enjoys Painted Lady Butterflies on a Belfast waste ground and a stunning Kingfisher fishing at the back of an industrial estate.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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