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Planners drive a hard bargain with discount store

Enda Cunningham

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A UK-owned discount store chain got a bad deal this week after Galway City Council refused it permission to retain signage on its Eyre Square premises.

Planners ruled that the ‘Dealz’ signage would have an unacceptable impact on the character of Hibernian House and on Eyre Square.

Poundland Ltd, which trades as ‘Dealz’ in Ireland, had sought permission to retail the illuminated fascia signage boards, a projecting sign and window graphics at Hibernian House on Eyre Street.

A conservation report submitted with the application for the building – a former men’s County Club dating back to 1850 – argued the signage is “sympathetic” to its location.

“We believe that this modest proposal is appropriate and that the proposal is sympathetic to its location and takes due regard of the general conservation area in which it is situated.

“The area where our clients want to place their signage has already been used for this purpose and does not affect the front façade, which is seen as having the most ‘architectural’ interest,” the architect said.

Local environmental watchdog group An Taisce asked that the signage be removed.

“Despite the fact that the application refers to new signage elements that are attached to the modern extension of Hibernian House, it is contended that the signage fails to respect the overall historic curtilage and the protected architectural status of not alone this building, but being situated in a position directly opposite the Bank of Ireland, also a Protected Structure, negatively impacts on this building, and is, thereby, inappropriate in being placed at this location,” Derrick Hambleton of An Taisce said.

In their decision to refuse permission, planners said the building lies within the Eyre Square Architectural Conservation Area, and the signage would contravene City Development plan guidelines.

“The retention of the signs in combination with the additional works which do not have the benefit of planning permission and including the third ‘Dealz’ sign on the southwest façade represent a significant depreciation of the character of the street scene and has an unacceptable impact on the character of this portion of the Eyre Square Architectural Conservation Area,” the decision reads.

Hibernian House is owned by Aviva Trustee Company Ltd and is currently on the market with a price tag of €2.75m.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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.

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