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CITY TRIBUNE

St Pat’s to welcome girls for first time in 190 years

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For the first time in its 190-year history, St Patrick’s School in the heart of Galway City will be enrolling girls for the coming academic year.

Founded by the Patrician Brothers in 1827, St Pat’s moved to its current building on Lombard Street in 1954 where it accepted boys from second class on and was a feeder school to St Joseph’s Patrician College, the all-boys’ secondary school known as ‘the Bish’.

From this September, boys and girls will be invited to enroll for junior and senior infants, first and second classes. It follows a move last year by the newly-appointed principal Marian Barrett – the first female head in its history – to set up a breakfast club, preschool and afterschool to facilitate working parents.

The change to a co-educational facility will help secure the future of the school which has experienced a continual drop in enrolments. From a high of 1,000 students in 1959, last year saw 212 pupils on site, down from 232 in 2016 and 250 in 2015.

The decision to accept girls – as well as junior boys – means that the school will no longer to be dependent on other feeder schools for its five-year cycle. Sisters and brothers will be schooled together for the full eight-year primary school curriculum. By 2022 the school will be fully co-ed.

“It was very much parent-led. Parents wanted their sons and daughters to be educated together rather than having to do two or three drop-offs every day. We will now be a one-stop shop for pupils, from 8am to 6pm,” said Ms Barrett.

“We are in a 21-classroom school, which means we can take 500 or 600 children here no problem – it’s quite a deceptive site. We don’t need any money from the department, we’re ready to go and have a good complement of staff here too.”

The average size of classes is between 16 and 24. The decision to open up enrolments was announced late in the school cycle as the board of management were awaiting a green light from the department.

“We’re a bit concerned not a lot of parents know this is happening, which is why we had an open evening for all past pupils yesterday so they can see all the amazing changes in the school,” she explained.

“Please God this will secure our future for another few hundred years.”

As for the reaction of the current male pupil population, the principal admits that some were less than impressed with the arrival of the female species.

“Most of them are very excited at having younger brothers and sisters in the same school. They’ll be able to talk about their sports day, share what happened and parents will not have to be doing loads of drops and pick-ups.

“It’s the way it should be to be honest.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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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