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Connacht Tribune

Plans for €130m office, hotel and apartment scheme

Enda Cunningham

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Plans have been lodged with Galway City Council for a €130 million hotel, office, apartment and leisure centre development off the Coolagh roundabout in Doughiska.
Already, the developers have held discussions with a number of “high profile” potential tenants for the office space.

The ‘Evolution Gateway Galway’ scheme will include 100,000 square feet of office space, 130 apartments and a 122-bedroom hotel with adjoining suites providing another 24 bed spaces.

It will also feature a gym, six-lane 25-metre swimming pool, tennis court, astro turf pitches, creche and a café, with a mix of under-croft and multi-storey parking.
If approved, the development would create around 250 jobs during the construction phase, and “multiples of this number” when up-and-running.

Evolution Asset Holdings – which is headed by Mike Pender (formerly of the Kenny Group) – lodged the application with the Council for the seven-acre site last Friday.
The greenfield site is located off the Coolagh roundabout alongside the Sraith Fhada development, and stretches back towards Doughiska Road.

The Evolution Gateway Galway plans

According to the developers, they have already engaged extensively with the local community and business leaders “in order to design a scheme which provides necessary additional commercial, leisure and residential units for the community and at the same time increase opportunities for employment and business locally”.

A statement from Evolution Asset Holdings added: “[The company] has already established considerable engagement locally to ensure this project has been designed to meet the needs of the community and all related stakeholders.

“Detailed discussions have already been held with a number of high-profile end users, both domestic and international, in respect of the office and hotels developments, which will add significantly to the future profile and employment potential of Galway.
“The scheme represents a paradigm change in urban living and as proposed is designed to support a ‘live, work, play’ concept, based on a series of high-quality plazas connecting to the core office, hotel, residential and leisure uses.

“Whilst extensive carparking facilities are included, the scheme is intended to make full use of the well-established public transport nodes available including the high-frequency bus corridor, and convenient Oranmore train station, providing access to Ceannt Station and mainline rail throughout the country.”

The company went on to say it expects to create a significant boost in employment.
“The successful delivery of the project would generate significant employment potential during the construction stage and once completed. It is expected that in excess of 250 local jobs would be generated during the building phase, with multiples of this number anticipated post construction.”

“The hotel is to be managed by a leading operator and will provide for much-needed bed spaces to service the growing Galway business and tourism needs. Local employers will benefit from the extensive mix of business centre and meeting rooms planned whilst the local community can enjoy the extensive leisure facilities proposed.

“The residential units are deliberately designed to support the full aspirations of the community with a mix of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms apartments on offer to cater for all stages of family life,” the statement reads.

Connacht Tribune

Compliant Galwegians are keeping their distance

Francis Farragher

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Checkpoint...Garda warning for those who stray too far from home.

BOY racers, cyclists, gym users and young people attending house parties are among those in Galway who have been issued with Fixed Payment Notices (FPNs) for breaching the Covid-19 travel regulations over the past week.

However, Gardaí in Galway have reported ‘a very high-level of compliance’ from the general public as regards the travel restrictions that are a central part of the Level-5 ‘Stay Home – Stay Safe’ Covid campaign.

Over the weekend, Gardaí issued FPNs to so-called ‘boy racers’ in two separate cases on the Tuam Road outside Galway city and in the Craughwell area.

FPNs – involving a €100 on-the-spot fine – were also issued last week to a number of young people attending house parties in the Galway city area, after Gardaí had been called to the scene.

Two cyclists stopped in the Cornamona area of North Connemara last week, who were 19 kilometres from their homes – and outside their own county boundary – also faced Garda censure.

The cyclists weren’t from the same household; they weren’t wearing masks; and also, were in breach of social distancing regulations.

Gardaí also came across a case of a gym in South Galway being used by a number of people last week – also a breach of the Covid-19, Level-5 restrictions.

While Gardaí also received a number of calls about possible ‘pub-opening’ violations, on investigation, they found no sign of activity on the premises they checked out.

Galway Chief Garda Superintendent, Tom Curley, told the Connacht Tribune that overall, there was ‘a very high level of compliance’ as regards the travel restrictions which was ‘very encouraging’.

See full story – and comprehensive Covid-19 coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Lessons learned on home-schooling

Denise McNamara

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Cathal Moore, principal of the Presentation Athenry.

Home-schooling is working better this time round with many teachers conducting live classes and more students actively engaging than when schools closed suddenly last March.

But virtual education is a poor substitute for the experience of the classroom with students sorely missing social interaction, according to teachers, while parents are still struggling to balance working from home with ensuring their children keep up with the school work.

The sooner that schools can reopen safely the better for everyone – although most agree that it’s looking more likely to be after mid-term than at the beginning of February.

“Everybody is in a better place this time round – schools, teachers, parents and students. Everybody expected to be back at school. It’s no secret last time we got two hours’ notice but this time round we’re better prepared,” remarks the principal of the Presentation Athenry, Cathal Moore.

The mixed secondary school is doing a mix of live and recorded classes as not every student has good broadband.

After the first week, there was feedback from students that they felt there was too much homework in addition to the virtual classes while teachers reported that they would prefer more live communication from their charges.

“It is more tiring – fatigue is definitely a factor when on a screen all day and if this goes on for a prolonged amount of time it will creep in for a growing number of students.”

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Hard-pressed hospitals down 450 staff over Covid

Dara Bradley

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More than 450 staff – including nurses at UHG and Portiuncula – are now out of work due to Covid, as staff shortages threaten the public hospitals’ ability to cope with the crisis.

The upsurge has seen UHG deal with a record number of Covid-19 patients, and the hospital had to escalate its surge capacity plan and add extra beds in ICU.

The latest CSO figures reveal that the first week of the New Year was Galway’s deadliest yet on the pandemic front, with five lives lost over those opening seven days of 2021.

That brought the total number of virus fatalities in Galway to 25, and it’s understood there have been further deaths locally since then, which will be confirmed later.

From March to the end of November there were 20 deaths notified in Galway, and no further deaths were recorded in all of December.

News of Galway’s deadliest week comes as local leaders in the HSE, Garda, and local government joined forces to warn that Covid-19 was still spreading rapidly in the community.

Nationally, between January 5 and 18, there were 263 Covid-19 deaths recorded, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC), which does not give a geographical breakdown. Of these deaths, 119 were hospitalised and 14 had been admitted to ICU.

The median age of all of Galway’s Covid fatalities is 83; the median age of the confirmed cases in Galway is 31 – the lowest of 26 counties.

See full story – and comprehensive Covid-19 coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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