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Roadworks to take place at night following U-turn

Denise McNamara

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Following uproar from Menlo residents, a proposal to close Coolough Road for a fortnight has been shelved and instead the works will be carried out throughout the night in a last-minute compromise.

The road closure sparked predictions of traffic chaos at peak times as motorists were forced onto the Headford Road. Residents and the parents of children attending Scoil Bhríde in Menlo would have had to endure delays of at least an hour as they detoured onto Monument Road to avoid the closure.

Galway City Mayor Frank Fahy estimated that upwards of 1,000 vehicles use this stretch of road during the morning rush between locals, school parents and rat-runners avoiding the Headford Road.

Contractors GMC Utilities are laying electrical cables on the road for Galway Wind Park between Roscahill and Oughterard. They had been operating a signalised one-way system on Coolough Road since the beginning of February during the works.

Last week they applied to close the road to lay cables at An Moneen, a bridge halfway on the road for two weeks, from April 11 to 25.

A spokesman for the Menlo Residents Association said the application would be strongly opposed.

“We’re wondering why this can’t be done at night or at weekends when most people would not have to go to work or school. It will add on at least an hour to our journeys to town. We weren’t contacted about this at all and the contractors had told us they would keep us informed about all developments,” he stated.

Cllr Fahy, who is a resident of Monument Road, said it was a step too far to close the road altogether.

He had been in contact with City Council staff over alternative solutions – do the work at night or at weekends when the traffic is lighter; carry it out during school holidays to avoid disruption for the national school pupils as well as students catching buses to four secondary schools or lay the pipes in the adjoining land avoiding the road altogether, some of which is commonage partly owned by the Council.

“Knowing the people of Menlo – if they do not come up with a solution that is more amenable – they’ll be quite prepared to stand in front of them and tell them where to go,” he exclaimed.

“We’re not opposed to it, but a solution that causes the minimal inconvenience must be pursued. We’re reasonable people but we don’t take things lying down.”

Hours before the deadline for submissions on the road closure, the companies agreed to a last-minute compromise. In a statement from the energy giant SSE and GMC Utilities, they said they fully understood the genuine concerns expressed by community representatives about the impact of a two-week road closure.

“To sincerely address these concerns, GMC Utilities and SSE have agreed to undertake the necessary roadworks at this location at night time (between 7pm to 6am) so as to ensure that daily traffic is not impacted by the road closure.

“SSE and GMC Utilities understand these disruptions affect the lives of everyone in the community, and we will continue to work always with local residents, community representatives and the local authority to minimise the impact of these disruptions as much as possible.”

The statement added that it had also addressed concerns expressed about the safety measures in place and was implementing additional daily inspections and audits of the roadworks over and above the regular monitoring already in place.

“This will ensure that any necessary improvements to the safety measures in place can be undertaken as quickly as possible.”

The project to connect the new Galway Wind Park to the national electricity grid involves laying 21km of underground cabling from west of Moycullen to the existing Salthill-Screebe substation and then the substation in Ballybrit on the eastern side of the city.

The work is expected to cause disruption until next August and is ongoing in four locations.

CITY TRIBUNE

Glass roof over Latin Quarter among raft of proposals to Galway City Council

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to put a roof over the Latin Quarter – with outdoor heaters to combat Galway’s changeable weather – is among a raft of suggestions that will be considered by the Council as it draws up the next City Development Plan.

The widespread use of outdoor theatre and extended opening hours for retail and cultural attractions are also on the cards as members of the public and lobby groups push for a city that offers the broadest range of tourist attractions.

As part of series of measures put forward to improve the outdoor offering in the city, one submission – which is understood to have been noted by the Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath in his report on plan, which is at ‘pre-draft’ stage – is to put a glass ceiling on the city centre’s main commercial thoroughfares.

Planners are currently considering the proposal as part of more than 500 submissions made to Council in the first public consultation for the document, which will shape development in the city for six years after 2023.

It’s proposed that by covering the length of Quay Street/Latin Quarter in high retractable glass panes ‘mounted on decorative supports’, and installing street heaters, ‘a comfortable outdoor ambiance could be created’.

This is one of almost 50 submissions made in the area of economic development, where the theme of improving the city’s night-time economy and tourism offering feature prominently.

In another submission from Fáilte Ireland, the tourism authority expresses its desire that the next City Development Plan should have a chapter dedicated to tourism, such is its importance to the city’s economic success.

As well as developing Galway’s growing reputation as a ‘foodie destination’, developing the night-time economy is identified as being ‘an important aspect of ensuring a vibrant city centre and means more than just developing a bar and restaurant culture’.
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

100 new jobs for Galway City Sports Direct outlet

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Sports Direct retail giant is set to create up to 100 new jobs when it takes over the former Debenhams department store in the Corrib Shopping Centre.

And the company’s sister outlet Heatons looks set to make a return to the city – possibly in the same building, although management are remaining tight-lipped.

Sports Direct has taken a lease on the Debenhams premises, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, and it will open in June.

“The 65,000 sq ft store will comprise four floors and will consist of Sports Direct, USC and Brand Max. 100 jobs for the store will be created,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Galway City Tribune.

The spokesperson could not confirm that the Heatons brand – which is also owned by English billionaire Mike Ashley – will also be opening as part of the move. The group is currently advertising for staff to work at a new Heatons store in Galway.
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

Forty firefighters tackle major blaze at Galway golf shop

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 40 firefighters from across the city and county fought a major fire at the GolfStyle superstore off the Tuam Road for around six hours on Thursday morning.

Gardaí on routine patrol in the Liosbán Business Park shortly before 3am noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building and immediately alerted the fire service.

The building, which was unoccupied at the time, is understood to have suffered major structural and roof damage in the fire that started in the first floor.

At one point, 11 fire engines from the city, Athenry, Loughrea, Carraroe and Gort fought the blaze, using water tankers and aerial ladders, as well as having a command unit in place.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus also had to force their way into the building to tackle the source of the fire, that possibly could have been caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was brought under control at around 7.30am, but the Fire Brigade remained at the scene for a number of hours afterwards in case of any secondary outbreak.
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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