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Organised begging raises ire in city

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There has been a significant increase in aggressive begging on the streets over the past month, with members of the public being accosted for money multiple times in the space of just 300 metres in the heart of the pedestrianised zone.

On foot of complaints from several members, the Galway City Business Association (GCBA) have contacted the community liaison with the Garda Síochána for a meeting to examine the issue.

The Galway Chamber of Commerce has also urged businesses who are concerned that it may be affecting their trade with the approach of the high season to report any incidents to the Gardaí.

Scores of reports on social media complain about several groups of beggars working in shifts demanding money to pay for a hostel bed. At least one of the women often unleashes a tirade of abuse if not given money.

There is also a group who harass tourists as they head into the Galway Cathedral.

This new wave of begging is thought to be rooted in drug addiction.

Chairman of GCBA Anthony Ryan said an increase in begging was a matter of concern to businesses in the town.

“There are some groups doing aggressive fundraising on the street, there are also other groups who are beggars, which could be related to drugs – but that’s just speculation,” he said.

“The thing to do is to liaise with the gardaí and just meet to see what exactly is the situation, see if it’s an issue and get to the bottom of it.”

General Manager of the Galway Chamber of Commerce Maeve Joyce said the city was internationally recognised as a safe city after dark following the award of the Purple Flag, so it was vital to ensure the daytime environment was equally inviting.

“There has been a noticeable increase. Any increase in begging is not on. We want a city where people feel safe and secure,” she reflected.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Students see red over in-person exams

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NUIG.

NUI Galway has moved this week to deny accusations that it is ‘playing Russian Roulette’ with students’ wellbeing by proceeding with in-person exams.

The Students’ Union blasted the university for its decision to forge ahead with examinations in exam halls amid sky-rocketing Covid-19 cases.

President of the SU, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, slammed college authorities for what she described as a ‘reckless attitude to students’ health and wellbeing’.

“The stubborn refusal by university management is playing Russian Roulette with the health of students and their families.

“We are talking about forcing people to attend multiple spreader-events right before they go home to their families for Christmas. This is reckless and irresponsible from university management, particularly when there is a tried and trusted alternative available,” said the student leader.

In-person exams for the vast majority of students were cancelled last year as the university remained closed throughout the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions.

However, students have been back attending lectures since September and NUIG plans to proceed with normal exams for the first time since Summer 2019 – albeit with a number of risk mitigating measures in place.

The Connacht Tribune has learned that following applications by in excess of 500 students for ‘reasonable accommodation’ – where certified conditions that increase the risk of adverse reaction to Covid infection – there will be 1,600 instances where exams will be sat in individual rooms.

It is understood that there are 16 exam venues this year – a much greater number than in previous years – and that additional cleaning measures including ‘air fogging’ will be carried out to sanitise large venues.

Read 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

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Connacht Tribune

Big buy-out to trigger supermarket war

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Groceries giant Tesco bared its teeth this week in Galway’s supermarket war as it announced it will take over the ten Joyce’s outlets across the county – as the expanding footprint of discount retailers in Galway continues to grow.

The British supermarket giant revealed that it is to acquire the Joyce’s chain – rebranding and redesigning the until now family-owned grocers, thus increasing its foothold in Galway by 200% – bringing its store count across city and county to 15.

This comes as Aldi is in the process of increasing its Galway workforce by 100 through the construction of stores in Mountbellew, Tuam, Athenry and on the Monivea Road in Galway City – Lidl also has a new store under construction in Knocknacarra and another on the way in Athenry.

In a statement this week, Tesco confirmed it intends to ‘welcome’ the more than 500 Joyce’s employees ‘as colleagues of Tesco Ireland’, but when contacted by the Connacht Tribune declined to comment how that might look in the restructured business.

A spokesperson for the retailer said the plans were being kept under wraps until the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) signed off on the acquisition.

“As this transaction is subject to CCPC approval, such details are being reviewed and it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment in further detail at this stage,” she said.

Whether the proximity of Joyce’s in Oranmore to the existing Tesco in the town would have an impact on either store could not be elaborated on, she added.

The move could spell good news for consumers though, as retailers including the multinationals as well as Dunnes and Supervalu continue to vie for top spot for market share. Suppliers could also see an increase in demand, stated Tesco this week.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Children forced to flee from back of burning home

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The scene of the fire outside this Galway city home in Westside.

SEVEN children had to be evacuated from a house in Galway city at the weekend after two cars were set on fire in the early hours of the morning – one of them close to the front door of the house.

The incident is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat retaliations in a long-standing feud between two families going back over a number of years – Gardaí have expressed major concerns about the recklessness and dangers of the car burnings.

Two units of Galway Fire Brigade along with Gardaí were at the scene of the latest arson attack on two cars parked in the Carn Ard area of Rahoon in Galway city – one of them parked at the roadside and the other on the front driveway of a house.

The emergency services were alerted at around 6am on Sunday morning last after the cars were set alight – there were concerns for the safety of the family inside when the car on the driveway rolled forward towards the front door of the house.

Both vehicles were destroyed in the incident while the front door of the house was smoke damaged. Family members, who were inside at the time – including seven children – made their exit via the back door and back garden of their residence.

This is the fourth car burning incident over the past fortnight – all are understood to be all related to the ongoing feud between two families which also involves people from other parts of the county.

Read 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

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