The green light has been given for the provision of the addition of almost 430 beds at the NUI Galway campus – but planners have ordered they cannot be used as holiday lettings during the summer months.
According to NUI Galway, the reason for the development is the fact that there is less private rental accommodation in the city and therefore it diminishes the university’s competitiveness.
Local residents opposed the development on the grounds of potential noise levels but their appeal against the decision of Galway City Council to grant planning permission for the student accommodation proved unsuccessful.
The proposed development will comprise 429 number bed spaces, generally arranged in 57 units of six en suite bedrooms, 11 units of five en suite bedrooms and eight units of four en suite bedrooms, with communal living areas in each unit.
It is also proposed to construct further communal areas and facilities, ancillary office and reception accommodation, internal plant and service rooms, while refuse storage and covered cycle storage facilities will also be provided to serve the entire development.
The development will be located on over three acres of land which is currently used as a temporary car park. Access to the residential accommodation is from the Upper Newcastle Road and will form part of the existing Corrib Village.
Residents of 13 properties at Upper Newcastle Road appealed the decision to grant planning permission for the student accommodation mainly on the basis of the night time noise that the development would potentially generate.
In the appeal, the residents said that noise from student and holiday-let accommodation would be audible and could be sharp and irritating as distinct from traffic noise.
“The development will add to the discomfort of the adjoining residential properties especially rear bedrooms. The existing Corrib Village accommodation of 772 beds has been let to tourists without a grant of planning permission.
“Letting of the additional proposed 429 beds to visitors as low-cost hostel type accommodation from from May to August will occur.
“If permission is granted for the proposed development, a total of 1,200 rooms will be available. The grant of permission for the conversion of the old Montrose Hotel [Dublin] to 190 student accommodation and holiday let units has a condition attached that limits the use to student accommodation only at all times of the year,” it is stated in the appeal.
The residents argued it allowed for the use of the accommodation for summer school seminars and university-related events without creating a ‘ghetto of budget accommodation’ for commercial gain.
They added that there was a serious risk of significant noise, annoyance, visual pollution and nuisance from car parking during the summer if there were holiday lettings.
An Bord Pleanála upheld the grant of permission but ruled that there must be no summer holiday lettings.
Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.
Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.
The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.
As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.
Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow: collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.
In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.
As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.
Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.
Park fun to mark Africa Day
On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.
Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.
Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.
Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.
Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.
In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.
Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.
The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.
Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.
Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’
BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON
A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.
Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.
The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.
The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.
Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.
“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.
“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.
“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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