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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Red tape’ stalls Barna greenway

Denise McNamara

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The Barna Greenway appears to have fallen foul of State bureaucracy after it failed to be included in the latest round of cycle and pedestrian paths to be funded by the Government.

In a parliamentary question by Galway West TD Catherine Connolly last July, Transport Minister Shane Ross replied that the greenway was proposed by the Galway Transport Strategy and implementation of that strategy was a matter for the local authorities.

Funding from his Department was available to support the rollout of projects administered by the National Transport Authority (NTA), he said, and referred Deputy Connolly’s question to them.

However, the agency replied last month that while the NTA was responsible for funding urban cycle routes in regional cities such as Galway, the funding of greenways nationally, including the Barna Greenway, is the responsibility of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Deputy Connolly then wrote to Galway City Council, asking if the project had been included in the latest budget.

In their response, a spokesperson for the Transportation Department stated that nationally all greenways were paused by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport until a national strategy was developed.

“As such, the Barna Greenway was paused and is not included in our current 2019 Annual Service Plan and we have no budget provision for same.”

The Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways was launched back in July, 2018 which called for applications from local authorities for greenways to be built up to 2021.

The last Government announcement on greenways was in June when Minister Ross and Minister of State, Brendan Griffin, announced funding for ten greenway projects around the country under Project Ireland 2040.

Included was €2.6m for the 21km stretch of the Connemara Greenway between Clifden and Recess. There was no mention of the greenway from Barna to Salthill, through the Claddagh, onto Ravens Terrace, along the Eglinton Canal, meeting the Connemara Greenway which begins at Dangan.

Spokesman for the Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, Tiernan McCusker, said the group together with a delegation of community organisations planned to meet with the City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath to see if any progress could be made on the project.

Deputy Connolly said she was “taken aback and disappointed” to learn that no provision had been made in the 2019 budget for the Barna greenway.

“And even more alarming was the reason given by Galway City Council – that the project was paused until a national strategy was developed. That strategy had already been published in July 2018, almost six months before the budget was agreed,” she fumed.

“The Barna Greenway is a vital piece of infrastructure and the rollout of same should be a matter of priority in keeping with government policy. The City Council has to show leadership and make provision for Barna Greenway in the 2020.”

The Alliance has been organising a family cycle between the Claddagh and Salthill every month to highlight the need for a safe and segregated walking route. The next cycle takes place this Sunday morning from Claddagh Hall at 11am.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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.

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