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Residents’ living hell in unfinished Galway housing estate

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Residents of an unfinished housing estate in Craughwell are living with raw sewage flowing out of their toilets, and rats ‘the size of cats’ in their gardens.

And a HSE public health worker refused to allow a manhole cover be lifted on the estate because the pungent smell was so overpowering.

It has also been discovered that the sewerage system is close to overflowing on the roadways.

A report on the estate is currently being prepared by the HSE for consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency.

People living on the Dún Árd estate off the main road in the town have been battling for the past decade to have their estate finished after Harrmack Developments went into liquidation.

One homeowner has had to install a special pump to stop the overflow of raw sewage in their downstairs toilet – which now ends up in a soakpit under a common green in the estate because of a problem with the treatment plant.

Local area councillor Anne Rabbitte described conditions in the estate as “deplorable”.

“A number of residents have actual raw sewage coming into their homes from their downstairs toilets, which has left other residents living in fear of the same happening to them, meaning they have had to stop using facilities downstairs altogether.

“Residents have also reported that the waste has attracted rats the size of cats, which can be seen running around some back gardens.

“These are families – many with young children – living in a completely unacceptable situation. The health and safety risks involved are innumerable and it simply cannot be allowed to continue,” said Cllr Rabbitte.

She claimed the developers had been ordered by the court to carry out remedial works, but these have not occurred.

“The residents of Dún Árd are still in a living nightmare with no signs of waking up. This is 2015, how can this be allowed to happen?

“One house had to install a pump the in order to remove the raw sewage. Last week, two other householders got blockages and they are unable to flush their downstairs toilets.

“One got a drain cleaner to call out and it was confirmed to him that sewerage pipes which are 10ft deep are close to overflowing on the roadways,” said Cllr Rabbitte.

She added that a HSE worker called to the estate earlier this month to inspect the sewerage and rat problems.

“She refused for the man holes to be opened as the smell was so strong and she was in fear that a rat would hop out. Her report will be sent to the EPA.

“There is raw sewage flowing out of the top of the sewerage plant and this is flowing down to the river.

“Dun Ard in an estate in crisis, these residents have been failed. They are being forced to live in deplorable conditions. It’s now up to the HSE and EPA to assist in highlighting the plight of the residents,” said Cllr Rabbitte.

CITY TRIBUNE

GAA club’s tournament honours stalwart who died at just 28

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Pictured at the launch of the Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament which takes place in Mervue this Saturday. Back: Kevin Curran, Kevin Barrett, Robert Fitzgerald, Aidan Brady, Alan O'Donnell, Donal Murphy, Eanna O'Connell, Eoghan Frain, David Henry. Front: Aodhain Ó Conghaile, Liam O'Donnell, Rory Murphy, Fionn Fitzgerald and Michael Barrett.

The untimely passing of a city GAA stalwart six years ago is still deeply felt by the club he represented but he remains an inspiration to young up-and-coming footballers who will be displaying their skills this weekend.

The Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament for under-age teams will take place in St James’ GAA grounds at Mervue tomorrow, Saturday, when many memories of a great young clubman will be exchanged.

Darragh, from Lurgan Park in Renmore, was just 28 years of age when he lost his battle with cancer in 2016. Since then his beloved club has been organising a tournament for young footballers that’s proving immensely popular.

For tomorrow’s event, the St James club will entertain local teams including St Michael’s, Salthill-Knocknacarra, Killanin and an Cheathrú Rua, as well as Kiltane (Bangor Erris) and Elphin-Ballinameen from North Roscommon.

It is a nine-a-side tournament, which takes place from 11am to 5pm, and will involve Under-11 teams who will compete against each other during the day.

The fact that Darragh’s late father, Tom Frain Senior, hailed from Roscommon means that GAA support for the event is coming from both counties – this makes it extra special, as well as adding to the profile of the tournament.

Best friend and one of the event’s main organisers, another St James stalwart David Henry explained that this was the sixth year of the tournament and that Darragh would be very pleased that his name was being associated with the development of under-age football.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Too many cafés’ as city retail continues to decline

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Barber Tom Nally outside his premises.

The changing face of Galway city centre is a source of concern to those who say it reflects a decline for people in terms of retail choices.

Those who regret the loss of several long-standing family-run operations in the city in recent years don’t believe that what has replaced them has enhanced the appearance of Shop Street, in particular.

“We are looking at a proliferation of coffee shops, bookies and mobile phone outlets in their place,” observed long-standing city centre businessman Tom Nally.

Cllr Niall McNelis agreed there were far too many coffee shops in the city centre and believed that anything that has been zoned retail by the Council should remain retail.

The Labour Councillor said a proper retail strategy needed to be adopted and some of the ‘big-name brands’ needed to be encouraged into the centre of Galway to lure shoppers into town.

Meanwhile, popular barber Tom Nally regretted the number of family operations that have ceased trading in the recent past.

“It is sad to see the long-established family businesses in the city centre going and it would be great to say that what is replacing them will enhance our streets . . . but unfortunately this is not the case,” he added.

Mr Nally who has been operating out of his High Street premises for almost 50 years, said the number of unoccupied premises in an around the city centre was a new phenomenon.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

State cracks down on quick-buck landlords

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New measures to clamp down on illegal short-term lets in the city will kick in next month, in an attempt to tackle mounting pressure on the rental market.

From September 1, sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com will no longer be allowed to advertise short-term rentals if the correct planning permission is not in place.

The measure seeks to strengthen laws introduced in 2019 which state that the use of a property for short-term letting for longer than 90 days in a rent-pressure zone requires permission from the local authority.

City Councillor Niall Murphy (Green) said the move follows on from an objection he lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

“The ASAI said it couldn’t be expected to police these ads so the websites like Airbnb were off the hook. But after September, they will have to ensure that those advertising on their sites have planning permission,” he said.

The proliferation of short-term lets in the city has been a contentious issue for a number of years, with scores of holiday leases available at the same time as city residents are battling it out for an extremely limited number of rental properties.

This week, almost 400 short-term lets were available on the leading website, Airbnb, while just 19 homes were up for rent on Daft.ie.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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