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Salthill raft left high and dry by safety concerns



The raft off Blackrock has been popular with swimmers for decades.

The popular raft used by swimmers off Blackrock in Salthill that was decommissioned this summer has sailed its final journey and is not coming back again – ever.

Health and safety concerns were cited last night by Galway City Council as the reason why the raft would not be returning again.

The raft, which is much loved particularly by swimmers off Blackrock and the Prom, makes an appearance every year.

It did not appear this year, much to the dismay of local swimmers, and at a Council meeting last night it was confirmed that it would not be returning.

Stephen Walsh, senior executive parks superintendent at the Council, confirmed it was decommissioned due to health and safety concerns.

He explained that the City Council, in conjunction with the County Council, operates a lifeguard service at Blackrock every year.

The County Council has employed a water safety officer who has recommended that the raft be permanently removed from the water, he said.

Mr Walsh said the City Council was complying with the wishes of the water safety officer.

Mr Walsh said there had been “a number of incidents” relating to the raft.

He said there were some people who “nearly drowned” as a result of the raft and there were instances of “hypothermia”.

Fine Gael City Councillor, Pearce Flannery, who elicited the information from Mr Walsh that the raft would be out of action forever, demanded to see the health and safety report or audit that was carried out to reach this decision.

He said the raft was there for over 50 years and children in particular, and by extension their parents, were very unhappy that it was not at Blackrock this Summer.

Mr Walsh said there was no health and safety report as such but there were lifeguards’ reports and logs of incidents involving the raft, including near drownings and hypothermia.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.


Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain



Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square



Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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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