Travellers who have been on the move around Galway City over the past number of months have cost the council in excess of €100,000 in legal and security fees – a spokesperson for Galway City Council has confirmed.
This figure looks set to rise as the travellers who were, until recently, situated in Ballyloughane moved to an area of land on the edge of the Fearann Rí estate in Doughiska, adjacent to Merlin Park.
As of yesterday, a week since the first families arrived, seven caravans were parked on the site – described as a slip road into the Merlin Woods.
The spokesperson for the council said that the issue has been before the Circuit Court several times over the past few months.
“Going to the Circuit Court is never inexpensive,” he said. “We have been to the Circuit Court five times in recent months in relation to the issue of illegal encampment.”
Cllr Mike Crowe has called on the travellers to obey the terms of a High Court Injunction – granted to Galway City Council three weeks ago – banning them from setting up camp on any council owned or controlled property.
The Fianna Fáil councillor believed that travellers were only making an already precarious situation worse by breaching the terms of the order – as the council tries to earmark a suitable location for a halting site.
“Let’s be honest, no councillor or no neighbourhood will want a halting site next to them,” said Cllr Crowe. “The actions of these travellers will only make that harder.”
Cllr Crowe said that travellers need to work with the council to find an appropriate and long-term solution.
“The first thing that has to happen is that members of the travelling community cannot keep moving.
“None of these estates are equipped for a halting site; it raises the ire of residents and results in complaints to the councillor, to me in this case, and ends up back in the courts,” he said.
The only legal option left open to the council now is committal orders against those involved, which would result in prison sentences being handed down – an option which Cllr Crowe claimed the “vast majority of people wouldn’t want to see.”
On Wednesday, an audit was carried out by the council and when a report is complete, a decision will be taken on the next course of action.
“We are looking at the situation and we will continue to pursue it,” said the spokesperson. “We wish we didn’t have to – we wish we didn’t have to expend finances from budgets in housing and parks on this.”
Cllr Crowe said that the residents of Fearann Rí have had a long battle on their hands to develop what was “one of the only areas of Galway left in a bad way following the economic collapse.”
“For that reason, we are very protective of it – to disregard all that hard work is totally unacceptable,” he said.
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.