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CITY TRIBUNE

School principal departs after 40 years with host of fond memories

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The pupils of Scoil Éinde in Salthill have bid a fond farewell to their principal as Michael Gallagher waved goodbye to the school he has dedicated over 40 years of service to.

Much respected in the community, Michael says he felt the time was right to pass on the mantle of running the school in which he has taught since January 7, 1976.

Originally from Belmullet, the man who students described as “the best principal ever” embedded himself in Galway life and has become an esteemed figure following the transformation of a school that had severely decreasing numbers before his appointment as principal in 2009.

According to Michael, he recognised upon taking the role eight years ago that his primary task would be to bring Scoil Éinde back to a position of respectability in the community.

“Our numbers had gone seriously down and I suppose we were at a crossroads really so there was a bit of work to be done.

“That was the one thing I was conscious of when I was appointed, that would be the first task – to up the numbers and try to make the school attractive again,” says Michael.

In this, he was hugely successful and the school once again found its place at the heart of the community – with many believing that this was down to the leadership and commitment of Michael.

Of course, the man himself modestly says that it is a combination of the work of the staff at the school, a commitment from parents and the changing face of Salthill as young families started to move back into the area.

Reflecting on how this lifelong relationship with education began, Michael explains that it was never part of any master plan to become a teacher.

“I did consider teaching but I don’t know if there was any moment where I decided I actually wanted to be a teacher.

“I got the points in the Leaving Cert and I did the interview for St Pat’s in Drumcondra at the time and I was offered a place – I think I just fell into it really,” he laughs.

If it was a case of falling into it at the beginning, it was never something he tried to escape from and following his graduation for college, he set to work in Saggart, Co Dublin.

Three months later, he moved to Scoil Éinde and the rest, as they say, is history.

In his career at the school, Michael developed a relationship not only with pupils and parents, but with colleagues, too – something that he says he will miss most as he spends more time walking the Prom and honing his golfing skills.

He says that together with the staff of the school, he had a “sense of happiness” in the school.

“If you set an example and treat children with respect, that is huge and I think that if you give it, you get it back – I would like to think that I contributed somewhat to that,” he says.

Of his days at Scoil Éinde, a few of his proudest achievements include setting up school tours abroad in the 1980s at a time when this was pioneering – as well as the smaller every day things that have resulted from his work.

“It is lovely when you are walking in town and a past pupil that you haven’t seen in maybe thirty years comes up to you – you feel that at least they are still willing to say hello to you, so you couldn’t have been that bad.

“It is great when you see past pupils and you hear of them doing this and doing that and you feel that I might have had some little part in shaping that – a very small part, but at least you feel you were part of it some place along the way,” he says with a smile.

Michael feels that he is leaving the school in a good position and believes that his successor will have the opportunity between now and September to plan and take the school to the next level.

“I have enjoyed it – hopefully, I have helped children along the way and the children would have good memories of their time in school and that they have enjoyed it.

“I hope that they felt happy, secure and comfortable there, that they were encouraged and I would be happy to think that was part of my legacy in the school.

“The school will go on to be bigger and better and there are great people there. They will always have a great interest in the children, great parents and a great school – it will always be very close to my heart,” says Michael.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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