The hammer is coming down on more pubs than ever across the county.
The licenced premises are being sold – but the demand has nothing to do with their appeal as licensed premises.
“We are now looking at a situation that closed up pubs are now being purchased for the extension of legal practices and office accommodation,” admitted former Vintners Federation President Paul O’Grady from Tuam.
Current County Galway PRO Timmy Broderick from Kilconnell does not disagree all that much, acknowledging that the supply of pubs in County Galway is exceeding demand.
The Kilconnell publican and local independent councillor said that business had improved this Christmas compared to recent years when the trade hit a huge slump.
But at the same time, Cllr Broderick has slammed the practice of below cost selling of alcohol in supermarkets – and he said believed that this was one of the reasons why so many pubs had closed.
It many cases it was ‘out drinking early and home early’ with the night trade suffering as a result.
There were a lot of those working away from home back in the country but not as many as usual.
Former VFI President Paul O’Grady believes that there is only sustainability for around ten pubs in each of the major towns in the county. “The rest are living on a shoestring with nothing to be gained,” he said.
Mr O’Grady said that that there were closed up pubs in towns in County Galway that would never serve a pint again.
“Their licenses are worth around €€60,000 but they will never deliver another pint. It is just not worth it,” he said.
“We have seen some of the most famous and legendary pubs in Galway close down and will never reopen because of the downturn in the trade. Pubs are now being bought by offices and legal firms who are selling on the licenses.
“The trade has changed so dramatically in recent years that it is just hard to keep up with it. The bottom line is that we have much too many pubs in County Galway at the moment.
“The situation has to be addressed at both local and national level,” Mr O’Grady added.
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.