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Port ruling first step in plans to draw 200,000 liner tourists



Date Published: {J}


Up to 200,000 tourists per year – providing a cash injection of up to €50 million – are on track to visit the new Galway Port from 2015, after An Bord Pleanála ruled the redevelopment project can be considered as Strategic Infrastructural Development.

Around 50 cruise liners each year – some of which can carry 8,000 passengers – are projected to dock at the new Port each year, where it is hoped work can begin early in 2012.

There will also be a new ‘Waterfront City’, with a marina and berthing facilities for more than 200 leisure craft.

The Board ruled last week that the planning application for the overall €200m plan – to be completed over the next seven years – can be lodged directly with them, rather than going to Galway City Council.


Eamon Bradshaw, Chief Executive Officer with the Galway Harbour Company told the Connacht Tribune he is delighted with the decision, and hopes to submit the planning application next February.

Within the next fortnight, Galway Harbour Company will enter a ‘scoping exercise’ with the Board, where the full details of the four-phase plan, the detail of the planning application and associated reports will be provided.

The Board will then provide a report, and there are two public consultation meeting proposed for January, before the finalised application can be submitted in January.

An Bórd Pleanála can call a public oral hearing on the application if they wish, while they also have the authority to ignore existing City Development Plan guidelines.

“The reality is, we’re ready to go to scoping in the next fortnight. The Board evaluate everything and report back to us. We hold public meetings, and then submit the plans. We would hope for a decision at the end of 2011 or early 2012,” said Mr Bradshaw.

The €50m ‘Stage 1 development involves relocating the existing ‘docks’ outside to an outer port – this will allow for the rejuvenation of the Inner Port and the creation of a new ‘Cultural Quarter’ for the city.

Included in the plans for a new ‘Waterfront City’ are a new marina with around 200 berths and a terminal building for cruise liners. ”The city will be able to take in bigger oil ships and the biggest cruise liners in the world. We are in constant contact with cruise operators in the States and Europe, and we are on target for 2015,” said Mr Bradshaw.

The first phase will also allow for a rail link to accommodate freight and the construction of a quay for the inshore fishing fleet.

The majority of the project will have to be funded by the Harbour Company itself – much of that is expected to come through their 32 acres at the existing Docks, which will be linked to the redevelopment of Ceannt Station.

There has also been strong interest expressed by international investors, while the company can also develop the land as a Public Private Partnership.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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