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Residents’ anger as heroin addicts ‘score’ at open drug market




The city’s heroin problem has become so chronic, the drug is now being openly sold in the Westside, according to a local councillor.

A number of locals made a complaint to Gardaí on Wednesday morning that a number of addicts were in the process of buying heroin from a dealer behind Westside Church.

However, Councillor Mike Cubbard said the residents were told there were no Gardaí available to deal with the situation.

“The lads who spotted this rang the Gardai straight away. The answer they got from the Gardai was ‘today is a busy day… everybody is up in court and there are no guards available to call out to you.

“It shows how bad it’s gotten now that they’re doing this in broad daylight beside a church at 11 in the morning… there is a huge frustration out there with the locals at the moment.”

However, a Garda spokesperson said that any reports of illegal drugs usage or sale would be investigated thoroughly.

“We would ask that if anyone notices anything suspicious in terms of illegal drugs changing hands that they would contact the Gardai immediately. We deploy a lot of resources into securing prosecutions in relation to the use of drugs in the city with many, many people brought before the courts and convicted,” said the spokesperson.

Cllr Cubbard explained that this frustration wasn’t just in relation to the incident on Wednesday morning, there are deeper lying issues in the area.

“I for one am sick and tired of waking up to hear another house has been robbed in Westside, another car vandalised outside a person’s home or more used drug paraphernalia found in public areas where children have direct access to,” he said.

The failure of the Gardai to respond has left locals “feeling frustrated” according to Cllr Cubbard.

“The guards have to respond, it’s not good enough for a guard to tell you that they’re all in court and there is no one available,” urged Cllr Cubbard.

He plans to introduce a Community Text Alert scheme for the Westside area, following a spate of burglaries and incidents of vandalism in recent weeks.

A public meeting for next Tuesday (May 19) at 7pm in the Westside Community Centre to discuss the text alert system.

“I believe it can help Westside and the Gardaí in curtailing these acts of crime. Items can be replaced, but the thought of a person in your home stays forever and two more burglaries in recent days locally means it’s simply time to act.”

He cited the new Westside Sports Campus as signs of the areas rejuvenation, and feels that the establishment of a community text alert system would be of great benefit to the area.

“Westside has come a long way over the years and the latest addition in the state of the art park and playground is testament to this. I do not want to allow a minority of people drag a fantastic community down and feel passionate about this.”

“People deserve to feel safe in their home and their community and as a local public representative I feel it my responsibility to try find solutions,” he said.

Cllr Cubbard has urged all residents in Westside to attend, and he has also invited the Community Garda and the City Council Tenant Liaison Officer to also attend.


Galway City Council turns down Mad Yolk Farm site

Dara Bradley



An application to retain farming-related development on a site in Roscam has been turned down by Galway City Council.

The local authority has refused to grant retention permission to applicant Brian Dilleen for subsurface piping to be used for agricultural irrigation at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ on Rosshill Road.

It also refused permission for the retention of a bore-hole well, water pump and concrete plinth; and two water holding tanks for 6,500 litres; and other associated site works.

In its written decision, the Planning Department at City Hall said: “The proposed development, would if permitted, facilitate the use of the site for the provision of sixty 15.5m high seed beds, which have been deemed by the planning authority not to be exempted development.

“Therefore a grant of permission for the proposed development would facilitate the unauthorised development and usage on the site, contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The site has been the subject of enforcement action by the local authority.

A lengthy Appropriate Assessment Screening report, submitted with the planning application, concluded “beyond reasonable scientific doubt, in view of the best scientific knowledge, on the basis of objective information and in light of the conservation objectives of the relevant European sites, that the proposed retention and development, individually or in combination with other plans and projects, has not and will not have a significant effect on any European site”.

A borehole Impact Assessment Report concluded that the proposed retention development “on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer is considered negligible”.

It said that there was “no potential for significant effects on water quality, groundwater dependent habitats or species associated with any European site”.

Six objections were lodged by neighbours, including one from the Roshill/Roscam Residents Association, which argued the Further Information submitted by the applicant did “little to allay our concerns” about the impact of the development on an “extremely sensitive site”.

The applicant has until June 29 to appeal the decision to An Bórd Pleanála.

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NUIG student accommodation firm records loss

Enda Cunningham



The property company which operates student accommodation on behalf of NUI Galway recorded a €3.4 million increase in turnover in 2019.

However, Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company), which is owned by the university, recorded a loss for the year of €6,300.

Accounts for the company for the year ended August 31, 2019, show that while there was a loss, retained profits are at more than €1.6 million. The accounts are the most up to date available from the Companies Registration Office.

The previous year, the company made a profit of more than €460,000.

Atalia Student Residences operates the 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex and the 429-bed Goldcrest Village.

The figures show that the company’s overall turnover jumped by 52% – from €6.4m to €9.8m.

Turnover for accommodation services was up from €5.2m to €8.4m; and from conferences and events was up from €850,000 to €1.1m. Turnover from shops was down from almost €328,000 to €290,000.

Outside of the academic year, both complexes are used as accommodation for conference delegates, while Corrib Village is also used for short-term holiday lets.

The accounts show fixed assets – including fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery and office equipment – valued at €1.5m. Its current assets were valued at more than €7m, including ‘cash at bank and in hand’ of almost €6.9m (up from €5.6m last year).

The company owed creditors €6.9m, including €5.2m in deferred income.

It employed 38 people (which includes its five directors) last year, up from 31 the previous year.

As well as operating the student accommodation complexes, the company also markets conference facilities and services on behalf of the university.

It pays rent to NUIG but the figure is not included in the company accounts. In 2018, the rent figure was just over €2.25m.

In Corrib Village, a single bedroom with a private en suite for the academic year costs €5,950. For Goldcrest Village, the figure is €6,760.

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Call for two-way cycling under Galway City outdoor dining plan

Dara Bradley



Bike users want the local authority to examine the introduction of two-way cycling on one-way city centre streets.

Galway Cycling Campaign has again called for cycling to be allowed both ways. It comes as Galway City Council prepares to cordon-off parts of city centre streets to traffic, and make Dominick Street Lower one-way, to facilitate outdoor dining.

The cycling organisation said that the proposed pedestrianisation plan at the Small Crane, and the one-way system on Dominick Street, will result in lengthy diversions for people on bikes.

It has pointed out that school children and their guardians who cycle along Raleigh Row, and turn right towards Sea Road, will probably continue to do so even when the Small Crane is cordoned off to traffic, because the alternative route – via Henry Street – is too long a detour.

Similarly, it has been suggested that food-delivery services on bikes are unlikely to go the ‘long way round’ via Mill Street and New Road to get from Bridge Mills to restaurants on Dominick Street and would be tempted to cycle the ‘wrong way’ down the proposed one-way street or on the footpath.

Shane Foran, committee member of Galway Cycling Campaign, said now would be an ideal time to introduce two-way cycling on some one-way streets.

“It’s not controversial,” insisted Mr Foran. “It’s a general principle in other countries, if you are putting in new traffic arrangements, you would try and keep access for people on bikes.”

The regulation is contained in the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009; and a specific objective was contained in two of the most recent previous City Development Plans.

He said a former minister and Galway West TD, the late Bobby Molloy, had the vision to change the legislation in the late 1990s – but it hasn’t yet been embraced here.

“Bobby Molloy, who couldn’t be classed as an eco warrior, changed the law in 1998, so that it is available to local authorities to put up a sign granting an exemption from restrictions for people cycling on one-way streets.

“The road stays one-way for cars, and two ways for bicycles. Clearly that’s not going to be a sensible to do everywhere, like Merchants’ Road. In those situations, you might need a cycle track or lane to segregate people from traffic.

“But if it’s a low traffic street, with low speeds or relatively lower volumes of cars, then it should be possible for people on bicycles to cycle in both directions and still have it one-way for cars, without it being a major safety issue. It works in other countries,” said Mr Foran.

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