The community spirit of the people in Leitrim Mór near Loughrea is a ‘unique example’ for struggling rural villages all over Ireland.
That’s according to Tracey Hannon of Clann Credo, the social finance provider that loaned the Leitrim Sports and Recreational Development Group part of the €345,000 they needed to create a sports hub for their area’s growing population.
For locals, the development has created a focal point for the community to meet and interact like never before.
Planning and fundraising began in 2012, and has successfully provided the locals with a sports field, a walking track, an astro-turf pitch and a playground, as well as an underground passage to keep pedestrians off a busy stretch of road – facilities that they had long been waiting for.
“It’s a kind of a unique development,” said Tracey. “What they did was they developed an underground walkway – parking is across the road but the kids can walk underneath it, from the school, which is very innovative from a safety perspective.”
The facility has been a huge success since it opened in October 2014 and Clann Credo’s support in the provision of finance was critical to getting it off the ground.
Clann Credo provides finance to communities when such funds would not be available from the usual financial institutions.
They take into account the social impact that projects will have on the community, as well as the positive impact it could have on the lives of those who live there.
“We are a social finance provider – we provide lump finance to community based organisations that can demonstrate social benefits, as well as a capacity to repay a loan.
“With general business, you are looking for a profit or a margin but here, we are looking for a social benefit – it could be sports, meals on wheels, social housing, community tourism, childcare, eldercare – right across the spectrum,” said Tracey.
Liam Fogarty, treasurer of the development group for the area, described the facility as a “huge boost” for the town’s growing population.
In just nine years, Leitrim Mór saw its population spike by 26 per cent. However, facilities were never upgraded to meet the demand.
“The facility has become a focal point for families in the local community,” said Liam. “For young families, it’s across from the school; it’s great for older people who can use the walkway because it’s lit up and a safe area to get exercise.”
Tracey praised the inclusivity of the organisation in bringing local GAA and soccer clubs, the national school, the community games and Special Olympics groups when deciding on what they needed.
She believed that the fundraising done by the community was paramount to the development of the strong bond that has ensured the continued success of the project.
“Fundraising can be a huge challenge for organisations but the clever organisation tries to develop fundraising activities which will provide people with a social opportunity; it provides them with an event or something they can attend as opposed to just being asked for money.” explained Tracey.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Cycle plans for Galway City get bumpy ride from councillors
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A €24 million plan to transform the greater urban area into a cycle friendly zone got a bumpy ride when introduced to city councillors at a meeting this week.
Councillors were presented with four consultants’ report outlining a framework for the narrowing of many city roads to facilitate cycle lanes and better pedestrian access.
However, several councillors hit out at the way the cycling proposals which were presented to them just hours before their scheduled meeting.
Former Mayor of Galway, Cllr Frank Fahey (FG) said that it just wasn’t good enough to have to consider such detailed proposals on city transport issues after only being emailed the details that morning shortly after 11am.
Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind), said that there was no joined-up thinking as regards the proposals and he asked if the residents of the east side of the city were consulted about what was being proposed.
“There is a real issue here with communication and consultation. We have businesses in Salthill that are down €25 million in terms of their business turnover and yet there was no consultation with them. It’s absolutely crazy going forward with no consultation,” said Cllr McDonnell.
Independent Knocknacarra councillor, Donal Lyons said that he had only received these detailed consultants’ reports just four hours before the meeting – he also wanted to know why Salthill was being treated differently to other areas.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the proposals, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Four-storey apartment block planned at Renmore cottage site
Planning permission has been sought to construct a four-storey apartment block and three two-storey homes on a 0.8-acre site off the Renmore Road.
K King Construction Ltd is proposing to demolish the existing cottage at 78 Renmore Road to create access to the site, which backs onto Nolan Park.
The plans include 19 residential units in all, consisting of three detached four-bed houses to the south of the site, adjacent to Dún na Mara; 10 two-bed apartments and six one-bed apartments, to be accessed by a new vehicular entrance road where the cottage currently stands.
According to the planning application, the development would provide “a positive net gain of new residential units on an under-utilised infill plot” on lands which are zoned ‘Residential’ in the City Development Plan.
Some 22 car parking spaces are to be provided on-site – two for each detached house and one space per apartment unit; in addition, 34 covered bicycle parking spaces are provided for.
Each apartment will have a balcony while a children’s playground is proposed for an area south of the apartment block.
The materials and finish of the buildings are to be similar to those used in the adjacent Dún na Mara development that was completed in recent years by the same developer.
The development would include provision for new pedestrian access for residents to Nolan Park/Renmore Playing Fields by utilising “previously inaccessible” recreation and amenity lands.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.