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NUIG proposes to build new 400-bed student village

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An application to build units accommodating over 400 students has been lodged with the city planners by NUI Galway after original designs were altered following consultation with local residents.

The development rising to five storeys in height adjacent to the Corrib Village student complex is planned for a site behind seven properties along Newcastle Road Upper.

The development involves 429 bedspaces, arranged in 57 units of six en-suite bedrooms, 11 units of five en-suite bedrooms and eight units of 4 en-suite bedrooms, with communal living areas in each. The development will be in one five-storey block and three 3 and 4 storey blocks.

Further communal areas and facilities are part of the design.

Of the houses nearest to the development, four are residential, with one used as a doctor’s surgery, one a crèche and the other a facility operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Of the four still being lived in, one was recently built by the University to accommodate a family who sold their house to the institution to build a new entrance opposite the G&L Centra along Upper Newcastle Road.

The plans were lodged on Monday after they were revised following discussions with residents and local councillors. In its information booklet, NUIG explained there was a significant shortage of student bed spaces – there are currently 2,700 purpose-built beds available to meet a core demand from 9,500 students.

Councillor Billy Cameron said the project raised the alarm bells of residents due to its scale, proximity to homes and antisocial behaviour that may arise once students moved in.

“I must say in my 11 years as a councillor and having worked with various residents’ associations in the area and meeting with NUIG authorities, the local community Garda, and students’ union, we never came across a problem of antisocial behaviour emanating from Corrib Village so when they voiced concerns about antisocial behaviour I can’t agree with that. It’s a very well run complex with high security,” remarked Cllr Cameron.

“The issue of antisocial behaviour in privately-rented houses has diminished incredibly over the last few years due to liaising with the Community Garda, residents’ association and the students’ union. We had only one occasion last year of antisocial behaviour and that was during the unofficial Rag Week.”

The revised plans have reduced the height of the blocks closest to the private back gardens to three storeys at the closest point to the boundary, stepping up to four and five storeys towards the river.

The architects have also moved the three storey blocks a further three metres from the boundary with the neighbouring properties, leaving the three storey blocks now within 11 metres of the boundary, stepping up to four storeys at 21 metres from the boundary, and the five storey blocks at 71 metres from the boundary.

Vehicular access to the development will be via the existing Corrib Village access road and like that development, it is proposed to make it available for short-term visitor letting during the summer months.

There continues to be some concerns among residents in neighbouring estates about the impact of parking.

“I will be looking for further clarification about whether the under-utilised car park further north of Corrib Village can be used for parking by the development, perhaps for a small supplementary payment. This would alleviate the worries of residents in Greenfields and Fairlands as it has 400 spaces,” explained Cllr Cameron.

While he was originally unimpressed with the fascade of the building – believing it to be “a bit Soviet in style” – further enlarged slides have shown it was “not as harsh”.

“People recognise there’s a shortage of accommodation, not just for students but for the general public because there’s been no building for seven years. So something has to happen to free up accommodation,” the Labour councillor remarked.

Residents now have several weeks to lodge submissions in relation to the application. A decision is due to be made by the planners to accept or reject the proposal by October.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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