Plans to overhaul the Dyke Road as Galway’s cultural hub have hit delays as City Hall officials try to secure finance from national and European development funds.
It was confirmed at the end of last year by the Council’s Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, that central to the redevelopment of the Black Box Theatre would be the construction of a new multi-storey car park.
It was hoped that planners would have been ready to put the project to tender in the last quarter of 2016.
However, a spokesperson for Galway City Council has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that the project has been delayed – citing the complicated process of securing funding.
“We are in the process of starting a scoping exercise with a view to securing the procurement of funds,” he said. “We are looking at national and European funding – we have to obtain the value of the site and this will inform us in conjunction with the national bodies.”
While consultants have yet to produce any concrete plans for the hugely-ambitious project, the City Council has established a ball-park figure that they anticipate the works will cost.
“We are talking potentially €12 million,” said the spokesperson. “But we are nowhere near bricks and mortar at this stage.”
Brilliant UG Maree pull off historic National Cup win
DBS Eanna 69
UG Maree 74
By Keith Kelly in Tallaght
THE Fields of Athenry rang loud around the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght last Saturday night as University of Galway Maree became the first Galway side to capture top-flight silverware when claiming the Pat Duffy Cup in a thrilling end-to-end contest.
Written off and under-estimated – and at times, just simply insulted as well – Charlie Crowley’s side put in a display for the ages to claim a thoroughly deserved win on what was a stunning week for Galway basketball, with UG Mystics capturing the women’s U-20 National Cup, Colaiste Mhuire Mathair claiming the U-16 B Boys Schools’ Cup, and Calasanctius College capturing the U-16 A Girls’ Schools Cup.
Somewhat off the boil in the first half, New York’s Jarrett Haines sprung to life in the second-half when writing his own Bronx Tale at the home of Irish basketball, his 35-points display in the game earning him the undisputed MVP award.
But he was just one of a host of stars wearing jerseys that sported the blue of Maree and the maroon of Galway: Rodrigo Gomez finished with a double-double of 13 points and 20 rebounds; and Zvonomir Cutuk threw in 15 points of his own despite shipping a nasty-looking gash at the side of his head that required heavy bandaging at half-time.
Eoin Rockall and Stephen Commins showed the leadership you want from your captains. It was fitting that Commins opened the scoring with one of his trademark looping shots from beyond the 3-point arc, and he was a monster in a defensive performance from the entire Maree squad that forced Eanna into pot-shots from deep, and a return of 25% from the outside shots they were so heavily reliant on was never going to win the Dublin side the game.
Only Haines topped Rockall for time on the court for UG Maree, showing the importance to the side of a man steeped in the club, and his haul of six rebounds and nine assists was further evidence that he is the beating heart of the side.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Doubt over new cemetery proposal for Galway
From the Galway City Tribune – The Council is aiming to progress plans for a new cemetery – as fears grow that more families will be forced outside Galway City to bury their loved ones.
A recent meeting of the Council was told that hydrology surveying had been carried out at the proposed location for the graveyard – at a site adjacent to the Connacht Hotel on the Dublin Road.
Located on the town side of the hotel, it is estimated that if the proposal were to succeed, it would cost the local authority in excess of €2 million to ready the cemetery.
Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) expressed concerns that despite years of talks, there remained doubt over the suitability of the site.
“When this came on the agenda first, we were told there were 12 or 14 sites being looked at. We were then told that this site on the Dublin Road was possibly the best site available to us,” said Cllr Cheevers.
“Is there some doubt about that now?”
His City East colleague, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind) also questioned if the long-awaited project was going to get off the ground.
Director of Services for Environment, Patrick Greene, told the meeting that as part of the pre-planning process, a number of surveys were required and of particular importance was the hydrological risk assessment.
“The water survey has taken place. We are hoping to have the report back in quarter one.
“We are trying to work our way through it. We are mainly looking at water underground,” said Mr Greene.
There was a degree of pressure to advance the project, he said, but he was hopeful the Dublin Road site would be deemed feasible.
“We will get a recommendation of whether it is suitable or not. At this point, I can’t say either way.
“We have to make a decision on it because it is a long planning process and if it is not suitable, we will have to find another site,” said Mr Greene.
The new burial ground was included as part of the City Council’s Three-Year Capital Programme in which it was outlined that the next stage, if no issues arose, was to advance to planning permission.
41% of lease termination notices brought Threshold in Galway were invalid
From the Galway City Tribune – An exodus of small landlords from the rental market is piling pressure onto an already desperate situation.
Figures released by Threshold, which provides independent advice to those facing housing problems, show that just under 500 people in Galway City required their assistance in the final three months of 2022.
Western Regional Services Manager, Karina Timothy, told the Galway City Tribune that the number one reason for those presenting with notices of termination was as a result of their landlord selling up.
“Small landlords, as in those with one or two properties, are leaving the market – and the problem is they’re not being replaced.
“We don’t have much engagement with landlords, but we know from what people coming into us are saying and from the reports in media that people are selling up and getting out, mostly because house prices are high and it’s a good time to sell,” said Ms Timothy.
Threshold advisors assess notices of termination brought to them by private renters, ensuring that they are valid and meet the requirements as set out by the Residential Tenancies Act.
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Of the notices brought to Threshold in Galway City, 41% were found to be invalid for a variety of reasons, as Ms Timothy explained.
“The Residential Tenancies Act is very prescriptive and a notice of termination, when it is being served, has to be written just so. If it’s not, that notice is invalid,” she said.
“We also come across issues where a landlord serves a notice of termination when they have no right to, in cases where there’s a fixed term lease.
“If a tenant contacts us, an advisor will drill down into the notice to ensure the landlord has given the correct notice period based on the length of tenancy,” continued Ms Timothy.
Very specific requirements must be met in cases where a claim is made that a landlord who is living abroad is returning home, an apostille must be attached – a legal document confirming their intention to return to Ireland.
Similarly in the case where it has been claimed that a tenant must leave to facilitate the sale of a property.
“When they are serving the notice, it must be accompanied by a statutory declaration,” said Ms Timothy.
In the case of terminations for sale, 19% of tenants that presented to Threshold in quarter four of 2022 found that the notice was invalid.
Ms Timothy said that in some cases, landlords reissue the notice, fulfilling their requirements under law.
“The grounds for the notice can be disputed though and in those cases, we are sometimes able to protect the tenancy and the tenant can remain in the property.
“In some cases, we represent the tenant at a hearing before the Residential Tenancies Board,” she said.
As well as assessing notices of termination, Threshold’s free service also provides confidential support and advice to renters across a variety of areas.
The top reason Galway City tenants were in contact at the end of last year was due to concerns over rent increases, making up 29% of the 498 consultations carried out.
Notices of termination accounted for 21% of the Galway City Threshold’s work, in addition to general termination queries – where concern was expressed that a termination was coming – amounted to 9%.
Ms Timothy said there was huge anxiety amongst Galway renters and while the evictions moratorium in place over winter was providing some reprieve, it was a short-term solution – and there was no sign of anything more long-term.
“We simply need more houses – social, private, affordable. Things have got worse recently and we are dealing with people who are really stressed and worried because they’re asking themselves, ‘where the hell are we going to go?’,” she said.
Those seeking the advice of Threshold can call 1800 454454 or visit threshold.ie where email and live chat options are available.
(Photo: Karina Timothy of Threshold with Senator Seán Kyne: small landlords are leaving the market and are not being replaced).