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NUIG seeks five-star hotels as students face rent hikes



Students last Thursday protest rent rise at NUIG, which is about to splash €180,000 on hotels

Bradley Bytes – A Sort of Political Column with Dara Bradley

NUI Galway is set to splash €180,000 on hotel accommodation, including five-star hotels.

That’s quite a lot of public money for any institution to spend on hotels. But the timing of this invitation to tender for hotel accommodation is, well, unfortunate – in the midst of a rent-rise controversy on campus.

Regular readers will recall last week’s column, where the Students’ Union was criticised for not mobilising the wider student population against the planned 4% increase in rent.

The hike in rents at Goldcrest student accommodation on campus – where a single room will rise to €750 per month from September – was announced around the same time NUIG was preparing tender documents for hotels.

NUIG has advertised that it is establishing a service panel for the provision of overnight accommodation and related services for use by the university in Galway City.

The contract value is €180,000. The accommodation sought is three-star, four-star, and five-star hotels within a five-kilometre radius of the city campus, as well as for guesthouses and B&Bs.

The accommodation must be of a certain quality, according to the tender. Firstly, the business must be registered with Fáilte Ireland. Wifi must be available to guests free of charge. And breakfast must be available and included in the room rates provided to NUIG.

The closing date for applications is March 12, and accommodation providers will be notified whether they are successful or not by March 23.

It is highly likely the department within NUIG that is responsible for issuing the tender for booking local hotels, has nothing to do with whoever is responsible for setting the rate of rents for on-campus bedrooms. And maybe it’s too simplistic to suggest the €180,000 to be spent on hotels could instead be used to alleviate the burden of rent rises on students. But there is an air of ‘Let them eat cake’ about it.


Part-time protestors

As was mentioned here last week, about a dozen students and Students’ Union members at NUIG camped out at the Quadrangle last Thursday night, in protest at proposed rent rises for on-campus rooms.

It was a short-lived protest, however. Citing concerns about storm Jorge, which was due to arrive in the West on Saturday, the SU decided to take the weekend off.

You couldn’t make it up: it took students over a week to respond with direct action to the rent rise and when they did, a day later, they packed up their tents!

If ever there was a metaphor for students’ apathy, the protestors effectively being ‘rained-off’ after just one day protesting was surely it.

*For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune


Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.

The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.

“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.

He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.

Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.

The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.

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‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.

Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.

Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.

He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.

“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.

“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.

In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.

Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place



The helipad on the former Shantalla pitch.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.

Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.

The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.

Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.

Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.

Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.

Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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