A groundswell of support has grown for a Galway City fashion boutique that plans to re-open in breach of Covid-19 regulations unless large supermarkets stop selling so-called non-essential goods, including clothing.
And Galway Gardaí has issued a reminder warning large retailers of their obligations under Covid-19 regulations, as independent shops that are closed grow more frustrated by the day.
Caroline McCarthy, proprietor of Lanidor, on Eyre Street in Galway, has been inundated with messages of support from retailers backing her plan to ‘take a stand’ against the multiples selling goods in breach of regulations while small, independent family-run businesses remain shut.
Ms McCarthy – who first announced her intention to reopen early in the Galway City Tribune last Friday – said her plight has struck a chord with independent retailers all over Galway, and all over the country.
“We’ve got a massive amount of support. They’re saying ‘fair play – you’re doing the right thing’. You can nearly tell from the tone of the reactions that people are finally getting it off their chests to somebody who understands that their business is closed and how they are suffering, and finally someone is standing up and saying something for them,” she said.
Since appearing in Galway City Tribune, the story has been picked up by local radio stations and national newspapers, while RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline show with Joe Duffy also featured Lanidor’s plan to reopen.
“A couple of emails came into us, and they are pretty heartfelt, you’d have to say. You’d think it’s not a heartfelt subject but it is; it’s people’s livelihoods,” said Ms McCarthy.
Under public health guidelines only ‘essential’ retail outlets are permitted to open. They are not permitted to sell ‘non-essential’ goods during Level 5. This is to stop people congregating and browsing in order to limit the spread of the virus.
Lanidor said that large supermarkets are flouting the rules, and it has threatened to reopen unless the authorities take action. It has encouraged others to follow suit.
“Why is there such a deafening sound coming out of politicians, and the Department of Enterprise? These stores are purportedly community-based, and are making their money from us as a community and as a country, and yet they’re putting us at risk by opening and flouting the regulations,” said Ms McCarthy.
A Garda spokesperson confirmed to the Tribune that retailers in Galway were inspected on foot of complaints about potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
She said: “We cannot discuss or comment on any named entity. Gardaí carried out enquiries following a report of non-essential items being offered for sale by a number of retail outlets in Galway City. No breaches of Covid Regulations were detected.
“The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) Covid-19 Regulations 2021 are currently in force. Regulation 12 provides for restriction on ‘Carrying on or provision of certain business or services’, this is a penal regulation. The appended Schedule Part 2 to the regulations, as amended provides a list of ‘Essential Services’.
“An Garda Síochána has carried out and continues to carry out checks in support of Public Health Regulations. An Garda Síochána has published statistics on enforcement measures taken on the Garda website. An Garda Síochána has been consistent in our graduated policing response to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with our tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.”
Lanidor hasn’t yet finalised a date for its re-opening.
Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash
A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.
Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.
The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.
The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.
The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.
Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them.
Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra
Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.
The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.
A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.
“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.
“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”
Galway Gardaí: ‘Stay at home during Storm Barra’
Gardaí in Galway have warned people to stay home tomorrow (Tuesday) as Met Éireann forecasted a ‘risk to life’ ahead of Storm Barra’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.
At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council was preparing for the ‘high probability’ of coastal flooding.
A combination of tomorrow’s high tides with the forecast high winds and heavy rainfall would likely lead to a flooding event, he said.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the best advice available was to stay at home but refused to comment on school closures – advising that was a matter for the Department of Education.
Mr McGrath said a number of meetings between local and national agencies had already taken place, with more set to run throughout the day as preparations got underway for this winter’s first severe weather event.
“High tide is at 6.45am tomorrow morning and at 7.20pm tomorrow evening. There is currently a Red Marine Warning in place for the sea area that includes Galway and an Orange Storm Warning for Storm Barra for 6am Tuesday morning to 6am on Wednesday morning,” said Mr McGrath, adding that it was possible this storm warning could be raised to Red later today.
With high tide at 5.45 metres and a forecast storm surge of 1.05m, the risk of flooding was significant. In addition, winds were currently forecast to be South-West to West, said Mr McGrath, conducive to a flooding event in the city.
“It is potentially problematic . . . the hope would be that the storm surge doesn’t happen at the same time as high tide,” he added.
The flood protection barrier had been installed at Spanish Arch over the weekend and storm gullies had been cleaned. Sandbags were to be distributed throughout the day, said Mr McGrath.
Council staff would be on duty throughout the weather event and Gardaí would be operating rolling road closures from early morning. Carparks in Salthill were closed today, while tow trucks were on standby to remove any vehicles not moved by their owners before the high-risk period.
Chief Supt Curley said it was imperative people stayed home where possible.
The best way to say safe was to “leave the bicycle or the car in the driveway” from early tomorrow morning, and to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.
Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.
A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.
“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said.