It is proposed that a chunk of Shantalla Neighbourhood Park will be commandeered to build a bus corridor.
The six-acre park is already home to a ‘temporary’ helipad, which the Health Service Executive is operating for years on lands it does not own, and has no planning permission for.
When the total area of the helipad site and the proposed bus route is considered, the neighbourhood park will be reduced in size by almost a quarter.
This is despite the fact that it is zoned for Recreational and Amenity use, and its R&A zoning is included in the City Development Plan as a specific objective.
Councillor Collette Connolly (Ind) raised the issue at a meeting of the City Council, which was told that University Hospital Galway (UHG) will not give the go-ahead for the corridor through its land at Newcastle.
Cllr Connolly said that there is little enough amenity land in the city and that it should be “sacrosanct”. Shantalla Neighbourhood Park should be developed as a recreational amenity, she said.
Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, confirmed that the Browne roundabout in Westside (to the rear of the hospital at Corrib Park) will be removed to make way for a five-arm traffic light junction.
He also confirmed that some of Shantalla Neighbourhood Park would be used to facilitate a bus corridor linking the Browne roundabout/junction with Newcastle Road.
This public transport corridor – part of the Galway Transportation Strategy – could not go through the UHG lands because the HSE West already had plans to build a €100 million new Emergency Department, which is included in the National Debvelopment Plan, he said.
He was working with the HSE on the final route for the public transport corridor, he said. Mr McGrath said decisions had to be made not just for the good of Shantalla, but in the interest of the common good.
He did not respond to queries about the unauthorised helicopter pad at the meeting, but in an email to Cllr Connolly during the Summer, Mr McGrath said: “You are correct in your assertion that the planning consent that was granted for a helipad has expired. This matter has been consistently raised with the HSE/Saolta hospital group in the intervening period.”
Meanwhile, Uinsinn Finn, Senior Executive Engineer, confirmed that plans to remove Browne roundabout will proceed once Compulsory Purchase Orders issue for the removal of Kirwan Roundabout (at Menlo Park Hotel). Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) will fund the cost of the works.
Mr Finn said also confirmed that plans are in the pipeline to remove the Martin roundabout (at Galway Clinic) and convert to a signalised junction; to remove Skerritt Roundabout (at GMIT) to replace it with traffic lights; and to remove D’Arcy Roundabout (Seapoint) and put in traffic lights
€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.