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Swim club exodus to leave Leisureland in deep water

Dara Bradley

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Aquatic clubs are poised to leave Leisureland over a price hike.

Five local aquatic clubs have vowed not to return to Leisureland if the operators of the Galway City Council owned swimming pool ploughs ahead with increased charges.

Two water polo clubs and three swimming clubs, collectively with as many as 700 members, have threatened to desert the facility if the executive of Leisureland implements planned price hikes.

The clubs have also warned they will ‘walk away’ from Leisureland if the executive of the Salthill centre proceeds with a proposal to take away their ‘teaching hours’. The clubs argue income generated from the lessons is used to subsidise the current charges at Leisureland, which they say are twice the national average, even before the proposed increases.

The row over price hikes at Leisureland, which has been closed since January due to storm damage, will come to a head this Friday morning (11am) when the board meets at City Hall.

The board have indicated they will resign ‘en masse’ in protest if the Leisureland executive (manager Paddy Martin and director of services, Tom Connell) ignores members’ proposals for a price freeze for clubs for six months.

Meanwhile, board member, Vincent Finn, of Swim Ireland, has warned that the five clubs will not return to Leisureland once it reopens in November if price hikes are implemented and if teaching hours are removed from clubs. Mr Finn said for the past 11 years Galway clubs have been discriminated against and have been paying twice the national average for usage of the facility.

He pointed out that the national average is €15 per lane per hour; while it is €10 in Castlebar, €12 in Longford and €10 in Sligo, which are all local authority pools. In Galway, the club rate is currently €30 per lane per hour but this is being increased by 10% to €33.

On top of that, a levy of €2 per person per session, will increase the cost of hourly lane hire by a further €14 because about seven members would use it, bringing the total to €47 per hour per lane.

“Leisureland is losing money hand over fist because it is not being run properly. It is overstaffed and under-utilised . . . Increasing charges and taking teaching lessons away from your best customers, the clubs, is not the way to turn it around. The clubs are 100 per cent not returning if the teaching hours are taken away and/or if the prices increase. It is the children who will lose out,” said Mr Finn.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

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Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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