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Planners say Muslim group misled them over numbers at Galway mosque

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City planners have accused a Muslim group of misleading them on plans for a cultural meeting room behind a mosque currently under construction in Ballybrit.

Planners have also voiced concerns that the meeting room will have a negative impact on the amenity of residents and potential to cause a noise nuisance.

Dr Mamoon Rashid and Dr Anwar Malik of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Ireland had sought permission to build a cultural meeting room to the rear of the mosque which is currently being built at The Cottages on the Monivea Road.

According to the application, they have a regular local congregation of 35 people, and the meeting room will have a capacity of between 30 and 40 people.

“The prayer room and the meeting room will be used separately. One will be used after or before the other. Meetings or debates will not be undertaken or food consumed within the mosque prayer hall.

“Cultural meetings will be held in the proposed meeting room, both will not be occupied at the same time. Therefore no additional parking will be required on site,” the application reads.

However, planners have sought extensive clarification from the association, noting discrepancies.

They said that in the original application for the mosque in 2009, the applicants said: “Friday is the most important day for the Muslim community, with the number of people attending the mosque/cultural centre reaching 25”.

However, planners said the cover letter with new application is misleading, as the applicants claimed to have planning permission for a capacity of “60 to 80 people”.

Clarification was sought, because this would represent a significant intensification of the site with regard to use and carparking.

“The proposed meeting room gives rise to concerns with regard to the potential to impact negatively on the residential amenity of existing and future residents.

“The applicant is asked to provide details regarding the use (including operating hours” of the mosque/cultural centre meeting room, both during normal operating days and weeks and during special events such as Ramadan. The applicant should provide details regarding numbers of patrons attending the mosque and meeting room.

“Given the proximity of the proposed meeting room to a residential plot located to the south, as well as other residential units in the area, the applicant is asked to provide details of sound insulation measures,” planners said.

They added that the Fire Authority has ordered that turning facilities be provided for fire brigade appliances.

 

There was one objection to the original application for the mosque on the grounds that it would be injurious to residential amenity, visually obtrusive in a row of traditional cottages, would pose a traffic hazard, and there is a lack of parking.

Connacht Tribune

Patients vent their spleen over ED chaos

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The new ED at UHG.

Complaints about the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway (UHG) jumped by 55% last year, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

During 2021, when strict Covid-19 restrictions were in place at UHG, a total of 80 official complaints were lodged about the West’s main public Emergency Department.

But in the following year, official complaints about the Emergency Department at UHG totalled 124.

It represents an increase of 44 complaints, or a year-on-year jump of 55%. It does not include complaints made to frontline staff that were resolved soon after they were made, and only refers to complaints formally assigned to a complaints officer.

A further 13 complaints were lodged but are not included in the total over the two years because the complaints were withdrawn, or consent was not given to progress them.

The increase in complaints to Saolta University Healthcare Group came in 2022, when medical activity returned to pre-pandemic levels, and overcrowding at UHG’s ED dominated the headlines.

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

Connemara pride in teenager just pipped at the post for Eurovision

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Jennifer Connolly on stage at Eurosong.

Connemara singer Jennifer Connolly was basking in the pride of her community this week – even though she was pipped at the post for the chance to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision in Liverpool.

Going by the stage name Connolly, the 19-year-old from Leitir Mealláin was the bookie’s favourite going into the Eurosong contest to pick the Irish contestant on RTE’s Late Late Show.

Her atmospheric number, Midnight Summer Night, scored 32 points, losing out by just two points to the Dublin band Wild Youth’s anthemic We Are One.

She scored highest with the international jury with twelve points, compared to Wild Youth’s ten points – but she lost out by two points from the Irish jury and two points on the public vote.

Wild Youth had the edge in the familiarity stakes, having previously supported Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan and The Script on tour. Their hit Can’t Move On has been a firm Irish radio hit since its 2018 release.

They certainly appeared very confident onstage last Friday. But few could fault Connolly, who after an initial shaky start blew it out of the park with her strong voice.

This is the first year that the winner was chosen by a combination of an international jury, a national jury and a televote.

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

White House hopeful boasts Galway roots

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Galway roots...Steve Laffey.

You wait an eternity for one US President with Galway roots to come along – and then a potential second Galwegian in the White House emerges in quick succession!

Because with earlier confirmation of Joe Biden’s roots embedded deep in Ballinacourty, outside Oranmore, now the first official challenger to Donald Trump’s planned renaissance turns out to be a direct descendant of a North Galway native.

And while Steve Laffey, the former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, might not make it to the final shake-up, he has officially declared his intention this week to seek the Republican nomination to run for the White House next year.

Mr Laffey, who lives in Colorado, is the great great grandson of Michael Laffey from Sunhill, Menlough, according to Mountbellew genealogist Martin Curley, who also established President Biden’s Galway credentials – despite the higher-profile claims of Mayo and Louth to his roots.

Mr Laffey served as mayor of Cranston, a city just outside of Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2007. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2006.

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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