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‘Ugly’ perspex cover replaced on Browne Doorway

Stephen Corrigan



The replacement of the “gross and ugly” perspex surround on the Browne Doorway has been welcomed by local independent councillor, Terry O’Flaherty.

Works have been completed and the surround which had lost all translucence when an attempt to clean the deteriorating protective casing turned it white and left the lower half of the historic structure hidden.

Cllr O’Flaherty said that she had been pressing for some time to have this work done and while she would have preferred the total removal of the surround, she believed that anything was an improvement.

“The replacement of the glass is only temporary until a permanent solution is found.

“It really took a lot of effort to get to this point and I have really been chasing after this for a long time – I have to say that I was ashamed of it the way it was,” exclaimed Cllr O’Flaherty.

Works carried out by Galway City Council included removing weathered material from around the monument and installing new, 10mm thick, clear polycarbonate sheeting.

Further works to the structure took place this week involving the re-polishing and cleaning of steel supports for the sheeting as well as the removal of staining utilising specialist product.

“The Browne Doorway is an iconic example of some of Galway’s finest architecture, dating back to the early 1600s. Unfortunately the structure has been deteriorating for some time resulting some years ago in it being surrounded by a perspex cage.

“Over time, the perspex had become badly weathered and ugly-looking and it has been standing out like a sore thumb at the top of Eyre Square – it had turned into an embarrassment.

“I was delighted to be informed by the Chief Executive of Galway City Council that the replacement of the perspex was underway and that the repairs to the steelworks would follow ,” said Cllr O’Flaherty.

The former Mayor said that the time had come to start working on the permanent preservation of what is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

A report last year outlined the necessity for funding to be set aside for the preservation of several historical structures – including the Browne Doorway as well as Menlo, Terryland and Merlin Park castles.

In Galway City Council’s budget for 2017, an allowance of €170,000 was made for this purpose – however, it is estimated that a total of €1.2million will be required to ensure their continued survival.

Cllr O’Flaherty said that the doorway should remain on Eyre Square given that it is a major attraction for tourists visiting the city.

“I was recently sitting in Eyre Square for a while and I observed the number of people taking pictures of the doorway and reading the plaque that is in front of it.

“By golly, if I have any say, it won’t be moved out of there – I feel that is where it should remain due to the fact that it is a great attraction for visitors.

“I think it should be given a railing, similar to the old railing in the Square and that a garden should be put in it – perhaps dedicated to all the literary giants that this city has produced,” she said.

The Browne Doorway dates back to 1627 when it stood as the entrance to the Browne ‘mansion’ in Abbeygate Street before it was moved to Eyre Square in 1904 by the Galway Corporation.

“We can’t just let it fall into total disrepair and we have a decision to make about its future – I know that will involve spending a lot of money, but we can’t just do nothing,” said Cllr O’Flaherty.


Galway City Council turns down Mad Yolk Farm site

Dara Bradley



An application to retain farming-related development on a site in Roscam has been turned down by Galway City Council.

The local authority has refused to grant retention permission to applicant Brian Dilleen for subsurface piping to be used for agricultural irrigation at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ on Rosshill Road.

It also refused permission for the retention of a bore-hole well, water pump and concrete plinth; and two water holding tanks for 6,500 litres; and other associated site works.

In its written decision, the Planning Department at City Hall said: “The proposed development, would if permitted, facilitate the use of the site for the provision of sixty 15.5m high seed beds, which have been deemed by the planning authority not to be exempted development.

“Therefore a grant of permission for the proposed development would facilitate the unauthorised development and usage on the site, contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The site has been the subject of enforcement action by the local authority.

A lengthy Appropriate Assessment Screening report, submitted with the planning application, concluded “beyond reasonable scientific doubt, in view of the best scientific knowledge, on the basis of objective information and in light of the conservation objectives of the relevant European sites, that the proposed retention and development, individually or in combination with other plans and projects, has not and will not have a significant effect on any European site”.

A borehole Impact Assessment Report concluded that the proposed retention development “on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer is considered negligible”.

It said that there was “no potential for significant effects on water quality, groundwater dependent habitats or species associated with any European site”.

Six objections were lodged by neighbours, including one from the Roshill/Roscam Residents Association, which argued the Further Information submitted by the applicant did “little to allay our concerns” about the impact of the development on an “extremely sensitive site”.

The applicant has until June 29 to appeal the decision to An Bórd Pleanála.

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NUIG student accommodation firm records loss

Enda Cunningham



The property company which operates student accommodation on behalf of NUI Galway recorded a €3.4 million increase in turnover in 2019.

However, Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company), which is owned by the university, recorded a loss for the year of €6,300.

Accounts for the company for the year ended August 31, 2019, show that while there was a loss, retained profits are at more than €1.6 million. The accounts are the most up to date available from the Companies Registration Office.

The previous year, the company made a profit of more than €460,000.

Atalia Student Residences operates the 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex and the 429-bed Goldcrest Village.

The figures show that the company’s overall turnover jumped by 52% – from €6.4m to €9.8m.

Turnover for accommodation services was up from €5.2m to €8.4m; and from conferences and events was up from €850,000 to €1.1m. Turnover from shops was down from almost €328,000 to €290,000.

Outside of the academic year, both complexes are used as accommodation for conference delegates, while Corrib Village is also used for short-term holiday lets.

The accounts show fixed assets – including fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery and office equipment – valued at €1.5m. Its current assets were valued at more than €7m, including ‘cash at bank and in hand’ of almost €6.9m (up from €5.6m last year).

The company owed creditors €6.9m, including €5.2m in deferred income.

It employed 38 people (which includes its five directors) last year, up from 31 the previous year.

As well as operating the student accommodation complexes, the company also markets conference facilities and services on behalf of the university.

It pays rent to NUIG but the figure is not included in the company accounts. In 2018, the rent figure was just over €2.25m.

In Corrib Village, a single bedroom with a private en suite for the academic year costs €5,950. For Goldcrest Village, the figure is €6,760.

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Call for two-way cycling under Galway City outdoor dining plan

Dara Bradley



Bike users want the local authority to examine the introduction of two-way cycling on one-way city centre streets.

Galway Cycling Campaign has again called for cycling to be allowed both ways. It comes as Galway City Council prepares to cordon-off parts of city centre streets to traffic, and make Dominick Street Lower one-way, to facilitate outdoor dining.

The cycling organisation said that the proposed pedestrianisation plan at the Small Crane, and the one-way system on Dominick Street, will result in lengthy diversions for people on bikes.

It has pointed out that school children and their guardians who cycle along Raleigh Row, and turn right towards Sea Road, will probably continue to do so even when the Small Crane is cordoned off to traffic, because the alternative route – via Henry Street – is too long a detour.

Similarly, it has been suggested that food-delivery services on bikes are unlikely to go the ‘long way round’ via Mill Street and New Road to get from Bridge Mills to restaurants on Dominick Street and would be tempted to cycle the ‘wrong way’ down the proposed one-way street or on the footpath.

Shane Foran, committee member of Galway Cycling Campaign, said now would be an ideal time to introduce two-way cycling on some one-way streets.

“It’s not controversial,” insisted Mr Foran. “It’s a general principle in other countries, if you are putting in new traffic arrangements, you would try and keep access for people on bikes.”

The regulation is contained in the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009; and a specific objective was contained in two of the most recent previous City Development Plans.

He said a former minister and Galway West TD, the late Bobby Molloy, had the vision to change the legislation in the late 1990s – but it hasn’t yet been embraced here.

“Bobby Molloy, who couldn’t be classed as an eco warrior, changed the law in 1998, so that it is available to local authorities to put up a sign granting an exemption from restrictions for people cycling on one-way streets.

“The road stays one-way for cars, and two ways for bicycles. Clearly that’s not going to be a sensible to do everywhere, like Merchants’ Road. In those situations, you might need a cycle track or lane to segregate people from traffic.

“But if it’s a low traffic street, with low speeds or relatively lower volumes of cars, then it should be possible for people on bicycles to cycle in both directions and still have it one-way for cars, without it being a major safety issue. It works in other countries,” said Mr Foran.

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