A public meeting will be held in Salthill tonight to discuss the “crime wave” sweeping across communities throughout the country.
The meeting – organised by Fianna Fáil’s General Election candidates for Galway West – will offer a “unique insight into problems faced by communities”.
Galway Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Pat Flanagan will be in attendance, along with Bernard Kearney from community group Muintir na Tíre.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív said the organisers are anxious to hear from members of the public about their experiences.
“We are determined to make the fight against crime a top priority and we are anxious to hear from members of the public about their experiences. The party is holding a series of meetings across the country to listen to the concerns of people who are worried about crime.
“We want to see more initiatives to strengthen the Gardai while making it tougher for criminal gangs to target communities.
“There needs to a radical rethink about how we tackle crime. Fianna Fáil has put forward a 7-point plan aimed at clamping down on this crime spree – it will be one of the issues up for discussion at the meeting.
“I’m delighted that we will be joined by Sergeant Pat Flanagan and Bernard Kearney who will be giving a unique insight into the problems being faced by communities in Galway, as well as measures which can be taken to deter criminals,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
John Connolly, a former city councillor, said crime cannot be effectively tackled when garda numbers are dwindling.
“Every community across Galway has felt the effects of this crime wave that is sweeping across the country. Garda numbers have decreased significantly over the past five years under this Government, and despite commitments on Garda recruitment, it will take years before we see more boots on the ground.
“The fact of the matter is that the Gardaí need more resources now, not in a few years’ time. Not a week goes by without media reports about the latest burglary or robbery and people are becoming increasingly fearful in their own homes, especially those who are elderly or living on their own,” said Mr Connolly.
Meanwhile, county councillor Mary Hoade – also a candidate for Galway West – said: “People are really worried about their security, in both rural and urban communities. There is real concern about burglaries and many feel a greater sense of isolation than they did a number of years ago.
“Since 2013, ten Garda stations in Galway have closed leaving communities across the county more exposed and vulnerable. Garda numbers have also been slashed, from 601 in 2010 to 564 in February this year.
“Criminals are taking advantage of these depleted resources and we have had a number of high profile robberies, being carried out by organised gangs,” said Cllr Hoade.
The meeting will take place in the Galway Bay Hotel tonight (November 30) at 8pm.
Galway family’s light show adds magic to Christmas
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Carrick Family Light Show returns tonight (Friday) as 70,000 lights are illuminated in aid of a worthy local charity.
The man behind the lights spectacular, James Carrick, says test runs this week have proven successful and the family is ready to mark another Christmas in style.
“This is our fourth Christmas doing it. We started in 2019, but Covid was around for the last two years so it will be great this year not having to worry about that so much,” says James, who has spent the last few weeks carefully rebuilding the show at his home in Lurgan Park, Renmore.
He’s added “a few bits and pieces this year” – his brother buying the house next door has provided him a ‘blank canvas’ to extend.
Over the past three years, the show has raised almost €30,000 for local charities and James hopes to build on that this year – offering the light show for free, as always, and giving the opportunity to donate if people wish to do so.
The show runs nightly from 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with an extra kids show on Sundays at 5pm at 167 Lurgan Park (H91 Y17D). Donations can be made at the shows or by searching ‘idonate Carrick Family Light Show’ online.
‘Chaos’ for Christmas as Martin junction works delayed again
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists attempting to get into Galway are facing a nightmare before Christmas as continued delays to the works at the Martin roundabout create traffic chaos on the east side of the city.
Anger over the controversial project to remove the roundabout at Galway Clinic intensified this week as the completion date was pushed out to February – nearly a year after works began and six months later than the supposed deadline.
Local councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) told the Galway City Tribune that he had lost all confidence in the Transport Department in the City Council and hit out at their “outsourcing the problem” to private contractors.
He said despite repeated representations from him, the local authority was refusing to take responsibility for the bedlam caused by the works, which he said had resulted in “three minor collisions in the last five weeks”.
“The bottom line is that this has been an absolute shambles and I’ve lost all faith in senior officials in City Hall. When I raised the issue again this week, I was accused of looking for newspaper headlines – they will not take responsibility,” said the City East councillor.
“It’s like an obstacle course up there, and now they’re saying February for completion. I’ve no confidence it will even be done by then – they’re out of their depth. If you look at what they’re saying, they say they’ll be doing the surfacing until February,” continued Cllr Cheevers, anticipating that works could still be ongoing next March or April.
In a statement issued by contractors Fox Building Engineers Ltd and Galway City Council, it was claimed that “supply chain issues” had impacted severely on the project.
Motorists this week reported delays of up to an hour just to travel the short distance from Briarhill Shopping Centre as far as the Doughiska Road-Dublin Road junction, a distance of less than 2km.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Councillors rubber stamp ‘temporary’ helipad after nine years in place
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Health Service Executive (HSE) came under fire over the ‘temporary’ helipad serving University Hospital Galway at a meeting to finalise the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-29.
Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, made a point of publicly highlighting his dissatisfaction with the HSE, calling on them to urgently “regularise” the planning permission for the helipad.
BY ANDREW HAMILTON
Speaking on the issue, Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said that he mistrusted the HSE’s proposal concerning the helipad, saying that previous promises about the site had not been kept.
Currently, University Hospital Galway operates the helipad to transport medical emergencies on Council-owned land in Shantalla – it has been used for past nine years, despite the HSE saying it would be used for six months.
The temporary structure, the busiest helipad in Ireland, transports patients from as far north as Donegal to the hospital.
Councillors voted to change the Galway City Development Plan to provide for a helipad at this location but urged the HSE to normalise the planning permission at the site and to provide compensation to the local community for the loss of a section of the park.
Mr McGrath said that he wouldn’t “wait forever” for the HSE to bring the site in line with the planning laws.
Last month marked the ninth anniversary of when the Saolta University Hospital Group gave a commitment to the people of Shantalla about the public land it borrowed.
Tony Canavan, the then Chief Operating Officer, and now CEO of Saolta, said that the land would be used to accommodate a helipad at the rear of UHG for six months only.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune where there is extensive coverage of rezoning decisions under the City Development Plan. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.