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Public hearing on Û1bn Ceannt Station revamp ‘still possible’



Date Published: {J}

An Bórd Pleanála could hold a full public oral hearing into the proposed €1 billion redevelopment of Ceannt Station – which include plans for 17-storey high rise buildings – in order to bring transparency to the planning process surrounding the project, the City Manager has said.

During fiery exchanges at Thursday’s Council meeting Manager Joe MacGrath rejected claims that CIE had been “secretive” in its handling of the planning process for the station revamp.

Mr MacGrath told Councillors that it has been decided that the proposed development is “strategic infrastructure” and therefore the CIE will apply for planning permission directly to An Bórd Pleanála and not the local authority. But this did not mean that the elected representatives or the public were being excluded, he said.

“The process requires a very significant amount of public consultation and City Councillors will also be given an opportunity to include their input in the plan. The planning process is absolutely transparent and allows for full public consultation. If they want to, An Bórd Pleanála could even hold an oral hearing into Ceannt Station to allow the public to go before the Board to air their views,” said Mr MacGrath.

The manager then told Cllrs that they were welcome to invite CIE to come before the Council to outline their proposals for the revamp but this drew the wrath of City Councillor Catherine Connolly (Ind).

“This process has gone on for over three years and CIE is doing it completely behind closed doors. We have asked them to make a presentation to the Council on two occasions and they have refused. They are treating us with utter contempt and have avoided us for three years when they are planning two seventeen storey high rise buildings as part of this development,” she said. Cllr Connolly was also critical of the amount of space in the 14-acres site dedicated to retail and residential.

Mr MacGrath said at no stage had CIE refused to come before the Council although he admitted invites from the previous two mayors, Cllr Tom Costello and Cllr Pádraig Conneely, were not taken-up by CIE.

The Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Declan McDonnell, will now write to CIE for the third time and invite its consultants and planners to present its plans for the redevelopment to City Councillors.

Councillor Brian Walsh told the meeting that some Councillors needed to “get real” in relation to Ceannt Station. The Fine Gael Cllr said the people who own the site are not going to redevelop it solely as a transport hub and needed to include a certain element of retail and residential in order to earn the sufficient return to make it possible to provide a transport element.

Councillor Mike Crowe agreed and added that 17 or 20 storey buildings should not just be rejected for the sake of it because in certain parts of the city, high rises may actually suit.

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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