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Receiver appointed to firm behind €50m city hotel plan



Date Published: 15-Sep-2009

A receiver has been appointed to the company behind plans for a €50million five-star hotel on the site of the former Connacht Laundry premises in ‘The West’ in Galway City.
National Irish Bank’s parent company Danske Bank appointed the receiver over the assets of Jaytar Limited, which is understood to have liabilities of at least €26million.
Tom Kavanagh of Kavanagh Fennell, one of the country’s leading insolvency experts, has been appointed by the bank to Jaytar, which was the vehicle used by developers Noel Burke and John Staunton to purchase the Connacht Laundry (later Connacht Court) site on Henry Street in 2006 for €30million.
Mr Kavanagh now has the power to take possession of the assets of Jaytar and to sell them, and his primary duty will be to achieve the best price possible for assets.
Unlike the liquidation process, the legal status of the company will not be affected, and it will technically continue to trade until the receivership process is completed.
Effectively, National Irish Bank now controls all the assets of Jaytar.
Noel Burke – who operates Noel Burke Developments, with a former business address in Salthill, had planned a luxury €50million hotel and leisure centre on the Henry Street site, which met with huge opposition from local residents’ groups.
The massive project for the 2.1 acre site was given the final go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála in January of this year after almost two years of delays.
The hotel, which Mr Burke previously told the Sentinel was to be based along the lines of the Ritz Carlton in Wicklow, was to have almost 130 suites, meeting rooms, leisure centre, spa and a restaurant.
It was also intended to offer a full concierge service, suites with hot-tubs and ‘sunken’ plasma TVs in walls, and the developers claimed a ‘prestigious’ hotel group had been sourced to run the property.
It would have taken between 15 and 18 months to complete and would have created up to 180 jobs, while there would have been around 150 jobs if the hotel got off the ground.
“The product is aimed at the more discerning type guest who wishes to seek out very high standard and more spacious accommodation at an affordable price. This product is currently unavailable in the marketplace at a reasonable price. In order to ensure the viability if the overall concept, the client has carried out market research which has indicated that there is a considerable niche in the marketplace for this type of hotel, particularly to cater for parents and young children,” the planning application read.
The receivership also affects a massive residential, shopping and leisure centre development, as well as the Fitzwilton Hotel in Waterford City.
Jaytar’s parent company, Noel Burke Developments, also developed residential projects in Headford and Renville, as well as in Waterford, Dundalk. It also has retail projects in Tipperary and Waterford.
Mr Kavanagh was unavailable for comment when contacted yesterday (Monday).

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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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