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Owner seeks more time to redevelop Taaffes site

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A city developer has sought an extra five years to redevelop the derelict Taaffes premises on William Street.

Planning permission for the redevelopment of the building to become entirely retail is set to expire next November.

Developer Gerry Barrett – who bought the premises in 2006 for around €20 million – told planners he was unable to secure finance for the project because of the collapse of the economy.

Spanish retail giant Zara had been looking at the premises as a possible location in Galway, but ruled it out in 2009, because of a three-year delay in securing planning permission and the economic downturn.

“The application was made in late 2008, with the planning process through An Bord Pleanála taking almost a year to November 2009, by which time, the entire economy and banking systems had unravelled.

“This included the availability of finance to allow the development to proceed.

“The climate of the economy is now looking more positive and it is hoped that the project may proceed in the medium term,” the application reads.

Galway City Council granted permission for the redevelopment project in 2009, but this was subsequently appealed by Derrick Hambleton of environmental watchdog group An Taisce, who expressed concerns about the shopfront.

When the Board finally approved permission – after refusing to accept its own inspector’s recommendation – the process had gone on too long for Zara, which informed Mr Barrett they were no longer interested in the premises.

Mr Hambleton was unapologetic about the role An Taisce played in the delays.

“An Taisce has been concerned for a number of years about the rapid change in character which has overcome Shop Street, Williamsgate Street and the other streets which make up Galway’s historic city core area.

“It is therefore unapologetic for the delays incurred in bringing forward any development at this important location. We would all look pretty stupid if we allowed any old development go-ahead, even if it is true that a major European chain of clothes boutiques is waiting to go in,” said Mr Hambleton.

A decision is expected from planners next month on whether to allow five more years for the project to be completed.

Connacht Tribune

Joyce’s Tribune inspiration for Finnegan’s Wake!

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James Joyce's statue in Dublin.

James Joyce copied copiously from the Connacht Tribune when it came to creating his complex novel Finnegans Wake where he intertwined events of the real world and that of his dreams.

He had relatives of his wife Nora send him over copies of the Tribune in 1924, from which he would pour over local news, sports reports, letters to the editor and even advertisements.

An art teacher in Dublin, who has spent 14 years creating illustrations inspired by Finnegans Walk, hopes to create pieces of art specifically highlighting those Galway sections of the novel.

Carole Wade is hoping people here who have anecdotes and connections with Ireland’s most famous author will relay those to her which can then be incorporated into the artwork. It will eventually be donated to the Moore Institute in the University of Galway.

Her sister Dr Frances McCormack in the university’s School of English and Creative Arts has reached out to her fellow academics to collaborate. But her sibling is urging ordinary people to take part.

“I think it’s the most amazing book ever written. Ulysses is about a specific place and time but Finnegan’s Wake is about the history of the world. If you want to know about the Crimean War, every war and every battle in Europe – they’re all mentioned, even the Maamtrasna murders are there,” she enthuses.

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

Little Blue Hero meets Boys in Green

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Connacht’s Tom Farrell, David Hawkshaw, Niall Murray, Tom Daly, Gavin Thornbury and Jarrad Butler chase after Charlie Quinn during his visit to the Sportsground. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht’s trio of Irish rugby internationals found themselves facing (not quite) the long arm of the law this week when Galway’s newest Garda recruit turned up to join in their training session at the Sportsground.

Charlie Quinn – Garda Number 322 – was in full uniform for the occasion, but that didn’t stop him joining in a Connacht session with captain Jack Carty and, fresh from Ireland’s triumphant Autumn Series, Mack Hansen and Bundee Aki.

The seven-year-old from Creggs is Galway’s latest Little Blue Hero, following his life-changing bone marrow transplant – thanks to a donation from dad Niall, who underwent a pioneering procedure to ensure his platelets were compatible with his young son’s.

Charlie was given a tour of the new Garda Regional Headquarters in Murrough before being ‘blue lighted’ by members of the force to Connacht Rugby to meet his heroes.

And a day later, he still hadn’t come down from the high.

“He’s gone off to school this morning, fully clad from head to toe in his Garda uniform; he’s delighted with himself,” said his mum Cathy.

Niall and Cathy revealed the rollercoaster they’ve been on since Charlie was first diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is a rare genetic immunodeficiency that keeps a child’s immune system from functioning properly.

But thanks to the incredible work carried out at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, he’s now finally back to full health – and flying.

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

GAA couple move wedding to give clear run to club semi-final

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Shauna Healy

IN the words of Shakespeare, ‘all’s well that ends well’ . . . and that’s certainly the case for the St. Thomas’ GAA club as a clash has been avoided between their All-Ireland semi-final date with Dunloy of Antrim and the marriage of one of their star players.

Originally, their match with Cúchulainns Dunloy, had been pencilled in for Saturday, December 17 – the same day that key player Darragh Burke was due to tie the knot with Galway’s multiple camogie All-Star winner, Shauna Healy from Ardrahan.

Following St. Thomas’ replay success against Loughrea in the county final on Sunday week last, the five-in-a-row Galway champions knew that they were ‘in a pickle’ with the All-Ireland semi-final fixed for the same weekend as the wedding.

Frantic behind-the-scenes efforts were made to seek a postponement of the match but with the All-Ireland club series on a very tight deadline, there was little room for manoeuvre.

Initially, Croke Park had agreed to switch the match from Saturday week to Sunday week, December 18, but this would have made for a very low-key wedding and reception on the day before at the Meadow Court Hotel, Loughrea.

Luckily though, for Darragh Burke and Shauna Healy, the Meadow Court Hotel had an alternative date available on the following Thursday, December 22, which the couple have now settled on to tie the knot.

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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