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Tourists give wide berth to Portumna litter blackspot

Enda Cunningham



Locked public toilets, fallen trees and litter drove tourists out of Portumna over Easter Weekend, and will continue to have a negative impact on the town during the summer, a local election candidate has warned.

Fianna Fáil candidate Anne Rabbitte has accused Galway County Council of taking a “hit and miss” approach to the upkeep of Portumna and Gort and the towns had become a “laughing stock”.

She said that many of the 35 camper vans in Portumna on Holy Saturday moved on the following day because the toilet block is closed.

Ms Rabbitte said that despite attempts to have litter and three fallen trees removed from the approach road to the swimming baths ahead of Easter Weekend, nothing was done.

“Both towns need immediate attention; the lacklustre and hit and miss approach by the various bodies and in particular the County Council is frustrating local tidy town personnel, town development companies and business people.

“But the real downside is that both towns are left with overgrown approach roads, weeds in the footpaths, not to mind fallen walls and trees on the approach to many areas of scenic, cultural and historic significance.

“At the weekend, I was approached by local businessman Donal O’Meara from SuperValu and informed that the toilets in the marina carpark were not open to the general public and likewise the toilets down at the swimming baths were also closed and that many of his camping customers were very unhappy with facilities,” said Ms Rabbitte.

She said there were 35 camper vans there on Holy Saturday, and many would have stayed two nights, but there were no facilities available to them, and they moved on.

“These people do their shopping when they arrive in town, they buy diesel, use the pharmacy, local hardware etc. This is a Council owned and maintained toilet block and at the start of the tourist season, it’s closed.

“Our business is tourism and with the loss of the Shannon Oaks, we must do everything in our power to bring in tourists, not the opposite. Having the public toilets open and the grass cut is the very minimum.

“Marie Gunning of the Tidy Towns and I met with a Council official to get three fallen trees on the approach road to the swimming baths cut and taken away along with repairing the road, the fence repaired and all the rubbish removed before the start Easter weekend, but regrettably this did not happen,” she said, pointing out that the fallen trees have been there for several months.

“A swimming area with no toilets and no showers; so we will be laughing stock of the area on the Lough Derg drive,” said Ms Rabbitte.


Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



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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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



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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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



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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