Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Plan for new Galway Rape Crisis Centre building stalls

Enda Cunningham



Plans for a purpose-built Galway Rape Crisis Centre in the Claddagh have stalled after the City Council raised a series of ‘red flags’ – including environmental and flooding concerns, an unsuitable building design and encroachment onto neighbouring properties.

The Council also pointed out that the proposals are not those which were discussed during consultations before the planning application was lodged.

In May, GRCC sought planning permission to demolish its “substandard” former premises at 7 Claddagh Quay and to construct a three-storey building.

However, concerns were raised by neighbouring property owners – one resident said his single storey cottage would have most of its natural light blocked by the three-storey building for most of the day.

The operators of the adjoining Creaven House – from where Galway Judo Club operates – said they support GRCC and the services the charity provides.

They claimed the new building would encroach onto their property and involve removing gutters and fascia boards and altering a lower roof of their property without consent.

They added that they raised these concerns with representatives of GRCC at a meeting in June and asked them to withdraw the current planning application and submit a revised one which did not include their lands or encroach on their property.

“We wish to inform the planning authority that we have not and do not consent to any part of the lands owned by Creaven House Ltd being included in the planning application by GRCC . . . we respectfully ask that their application be deemed invalid,” the submission reads.

The City Council asked GRCC to comment on the submissions from the neighbouring property owners and to submit revised drawings where necessary.

The local authority said that while the proposed usage of the building is acceptable in principle, the design is at variance to plans presented to the Council during pre-application consultations.

“[It] is considered to represent a major intervention to the urban fabric along Claddagh Quay and is of an unsuitable contemporary design, with particular regard to the form, roof profile, expansive glazing and external materials of the building.

“It is considered that the building does not integrate well with the fabric or historic setting of the local area and would not positively contribute to the visual integrity of the streetscape,” the local authority said.

The charity has also been asked to submit a report which demonstrates that the development would not have a significant adverse impact on adjoining protected ‘Natura 2000’ environmental sites

The Council noted that the groundwater in the local area has “high vulnerability”.

The local authority also pointed out that the site is designated ‘Flood Zone A’ in the City Development Plan, but a Flood Risk Assessment included with the application states it is largely within the lower-risk ‘Flood Zone B’, and has sought clarification and full details on any proposed defence measures, including a flood wall.

Clarification has also been sought on car and cycle parking, as no information was provided.

The Council told GRCC to revise the plans, giving them six months to make the submission or the planning application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

GRCC is now the second biggest rape crisis centre in the country – it offered more than 4,000 appointments to victims of sexual abuse and assault in Galway, south Roscommon and north Clare last year – and currently operates from The Lodge on Forster Street (part of the Magdalen complex) but has been asked to vacate the premises by July 2021.

“As Galway is a university city and we have a large transient college and tourist population, we have to reach to an ever-changing cohort of clients. Our centre has grown to become the second biggest in the country.

“Our present location is part of the Magdalen Laundry complex, which consists of the laundry and a residential building which had previously been occupied by the surviving ladies from the laundry. In recent years, the Sisters of Mercy assigned our lease to COPE Galway, who have asked for us to vacate and return the building to them by July 2021.

“This location, while quiet, is also full of memories with concealment, shame and guilt. Many of our clients and visitors alike have commented on how “hidden” the building is.

“The proposed design for the new centre will have a strong street presence and visibility. However, we in GRCC will always work to maintain our clients’ confidentiality and privacy at all times.

“As our [other] building in the Claddagh can no longer house our growing service in its present form, we are applying to the City Council for permission to create a secure home for both our clients and counsellors.

“We need the help and support of our planning officers in the Council to establish a forward-thinking, accessible and secure home for our clients. We need to give all the survivors of sexual abuse a place to come for counselling that is bright, modern and safe because they deserve it,” the planning application reads.
Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying or subscribing to our newspapers, this website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages would not exist. You can subscribe to the Galway City Tribune or buy a digital edition HERE.


Proposals to change speed limits in Galway City are voted down

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Planned speed limit changes for Galway City are stuck in the slow lane after councillors rejected a proposal for new bylaws.

The bylaws would have introduced a 30km/h zone in the city centre and 19 other changes, including increased speed limits in areas such as Bóthar na dTreabh to 80km/h.

Management at City Hall have now been sent back to the drawing board to draft new speed limit bylaws after a majority of elected members voted against them – it could at least two years before new proposals are ready.

At a meeting this week, several councillors spoke out against plans to increase speed limits to 80km/h on approach roads into the city.

Many of them criticised the system of selecting roads for speed limit changes, lashed the public consultation process and decried the lack of input from councillors, despite speed limits being a reserved function of elected members.

Councillors were particularly peeved that the proposal had to be accepted in its entirety, without amendments, or rejected outright – they could not pick and choose individual changes.

Deputy Mayor Collette Connolly (Ind) led the charge against the bylaws, which she described as “idiotic”.

She lambasted the “incomprehensible decision” not to lower speed limits to 30km/h outside schools and she said it was “utter raiméis” (nonsense) that speeds can’t be lowered to 30km/h, if 85% of the traffic on that road travels at 50km/h.

Cllr Connolly said the bylaws were “flawed”, and cited the decision to leave Rahoon Road/Shantalla Road at 50km/h, despite a crèche and two schools on other roads like Lough Atalia remaining at 30km/h.

(Photo: A speed van on Bóthar na dTreabh on Thursday morning)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, including how each councillor voted and a map of the proposed changes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading


Corrib to be opened up as new tourism and leisure blueway

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first steps are to be taken next year to explore the development of a ‘blueway’ tourism and leisure trail along the River Corrib, from Nimmo’s Pier and onto the lake itself.

This week, Galway City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that monies had been set aside to begin exploratory work on what will be known as the Great Western Blueway.

A figure of €65,000 has been allocated in the City Council’s 2021 annual budget to commission an initial study of what’s involved in the setting up a blueway trail on the Corrib.

“The Corrib river and the lake are a most wonderful natural asset for the entire western region and I have no doubt that this project has fantastic potential in terms of enhancing the tourism pulling power of the city and its environs,” Mr McGrath told the Galway City Tribune this week.

Should the project come to fruition, it would be the fifth such waterway attraction to be developed in the island of Ireland.

Already there are Blueways on the Shannon, from Drumshanbo to Lanesboro; the Shannon-Erne project from Leitrim village to Belturbet (Cavan); the Royal Canal at Mullingar; and at Lough Derg from Portumna to Scariff in Clare.

According to Mr McGrath, the attractions developed along the Great Western Blueway would be environmentally friendly, featuring such attractions as kayaking, paddling, adjacent cycle trails as well as scenic walkways and visitor centres.
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.

Continue Reading


Future of Leisureland secured through increased Council funding

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The future of the Leisureland pool and gym facility, which last September faced possible closure due to the Covid emergency, has been guaranteed for the coming year, following an increased financial subsidy from the City Council in their 2021 annual budget.

City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told the Galway City Tribune that the local authority was committed to the future of the Leisureland facility and had increased the subsidy for 2021 from €300,000 to €500,000, in the process securing its viability for the coming year.

“We are all acutely aware of the value of the Leisureland facility, not only to local clubs but also to the many, many people who use the pool and gym on a weekly and often on a daily basis.

“Like so many other aspects of life and leisure in Ireland, the coronavirus emergency had a hugely negative impact on the viability of the facility, but thankfully we can now look forward with confidence to its continued usage in 2021,” said Mr. McGrath.

He also said that the City Council was committed to the further enhancement and usage of the greater Leisureland site which could act as a focal point for the regeneration of the entire Salthill area as a major local and national tourism centre.
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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads



Weather Icon