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Planners still mulling over controversial Tesco plan

Ciaran Tierney

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The proposed location for the controversial development.

A decision relating to a controversial €15 million Tesco development in Rahoon has yet to be made by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) – 10 months on from a full oral hearing.
The planning appeals board has taken more than twice as long as its normal target to decide on the case, 43 weeks after the oral hearing which lasted for three days.
A 9,369 square metre retail unit has been earmarked for the site of a disused timber yard on the Rahoon Road, which is owned by former Mayor of Galway Micheal Ó hUiginn.
Normally, ABP intend to deal with appeals within 18 weeks of a hearing, but the final deadline for the decision has been put back on a number of occasions.
A spokesperson for the appeals board said that a decision was due within the coming weeks. “That case is still on-going and a decision is due shortly,” said the ABP spokesperson. “No decision has been made on it yet.”
Mr O hUiginn sought permission to demolish the existing building and construct the retail development on a 2.54 hectare (6.1 acre) site between the Seamus Quirke Road and the Rahoon Road.
Galway City Council granted permission for the project in June of last year, with 30 conditions attached, but An Bord Pleanála opted to hold a full oral hearing last October after receiving ten separate submissions.
The plan was opposed by local residents, environmentalists, and city centre traders, with the full oral hearing taking place at the Westwood Hotel in Dangan over three days last October.
Mr O hUiginn also lodged an appeal with the board, as he objected to a Galway City Council condition that he would have to build a €3.5 million public road linking the site with the Seamus Quirke Road.
The An Bord Pleanála spokesperson said this week that deadlines for planning decisions could go beyond statutory dates in complex cases, such as those which go to oral hearings.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.

College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.

Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.

In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.

“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.

“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.

Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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