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Plans to save Menlo Castle take big step

Ciaran Tierney

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The long-awaited revamp of Menlo Castle on the banks of the River Corrib will take a giant step forward early next year thanks to the allocation of €25,000 towards the project in the Galway City Council Budget for 2014.

This funding will allow the City Heritage Officer, Jim Higgins, to come up with a detailed conservation project for the historic castle, outhouses, and grounds, which, in turn, should result in substantial additional funding from the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht.

Conservation groups including Duchas na Gaillimhe and the Galway Civic Trust have come on board to offer the local authority full support to progress the ill-fated project, over 13 years after Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) were issued for the 17th century site.

A full oral hearing to allow the City Council purchase the castle and grounds from five shareholders took place at the Menlo Park Hotel back in July 2000 and, since then, there have been no moves to preserve the ruins.

An ambitious ‘Celtic Tiger’ plan, which would have seen Dublin-based businessman Noel Smyth develop the site in return for a top floor penthouse, was abandoned three years ago when Mr Smyth’s assets were seized by the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA).

Confirmation that €25,000 has been allocated to the Menlo Castle revamp in the City Council Budget for 2014 – which is due to be adopted today – has been warmly welcomed by long-term campaigner and local resident Cllr Frank Fahy (FG).

Earlier this year, Cllr Fahy called for a full-scale inquiry to be held into the cost and delays surrounding the ill-fated project.

“This €25,000 has been ‘ring fenced’ to start the process of doing a conservation project for Menlo Castle,” Cllr Fahy said yesterday.

“It will allow the Heritage Officer to draw up a comprehensive conservation, which can be submitted to the Dept of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. There is funding available for the revamp of listed buildings, once we have finalised a conservation plan.”

Cllr Fahy said the funding had been allocated for the monument, gate lodge, and castle – he hoped that work could proceed on the gate lodge in the short-term.

Cllr Fahy said he was delighted that Duchas na Gaillimhe have come on board to progress the work through a community employment scheme, while Galway Civic Trust have already played a key role in revamping two iconic city buildings, the Mutton Island lighthouse and the Fisheries Tower, in recent years.

CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Revellers leave city in RAG order

Stephen Corrigan

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A queue assembled from early morning on Donegal Tuesday.

Gardaí in Galway recovered €8,000 worth of drugs this week in two separate seizures in Rahoon and Ballybane which they believed were destined for distribution in the city this week – as thousands of students celebrate unofficial ‘RAG Week’.

Sizable quantities of Ketamine and smaller amounts of cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy and Valium were all seized as part of the operation which took place on Friday last, February 7 and on Tuesday, February 11.

The removal of these drugs from circulation on Galway’s streets was as a result of an intelligence-led operation carried out by the Garda Divisional Drugs Unit.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said: “We believe these drugs were destined for sale and supply in Galway City this week, and as a result of this good detection, they have now been removed from circulation”.

One man was arrested following the seizures and has since been released without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP and investigations are ongoing, a Garda statement confirmed.

Meanwhile, RAG Week has resulted in a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the city – with one restaurant owner who had his windows broken calling for the colleges to take ownership of the event which they have distanced themselves from for a number of years.

The student-led event, which had been run by the Student’s Unions of NUIG and GMIT up to 2011, has become an annual unofficial week of partying – and Michelin Star-restaurant owner, JP McMahon, said the colleges need to take responsibility for changing the attitude of their students after the window of his restaurant, Aniar, on Dominick Street, was shattered on Tuesday.

“I was actually in the restaurant when it happened – it was at around 10pm and I was doing a cookery class,” he said.

Mr McMahon said he had to physically apprehend one of a group of five students to ensure that they remained at the scene until the Gardaí arrived – but none of those had been responsible for the break.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Chief Executive meets with soccer club to outline playing time options at Cappagh

Francis Farragher

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Flashback...the temporary floodlights being removed from Cappagh Park.

CITY Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told councillors this week that he had met with the Chairman of Knocknacarra FC to outline the situation as regards the floodlighting situation with the all-weather pitch.

“I explained to him why planning permission was needed for the use of floodlights at the pitch and also outlined a range of options available until this issue [floodlights] was resolved,” said Brendan McGrath.

He said that the soccer club had been guaranteed 34 hours weekly usage of the pitch – including eight hours on both Saturday and Sunday, with 20 of those hours free.

The remaining twelve hours were provided at a rate of €40 per hour which he said was a very reasonable charge for the facility.

“I know of similar facilities in the city where there is a charge of €100 per hour and, where they are floodlit, this rises to €120 to €130 and hour,” said Brendan McGrath. He added that annual maintenance costs at the pitch came to €10,000.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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