Galway City Council is still awaiting a consultant’s report on the future usage of the Galway Airport site at Carnmore – it is understood that several submissions have been made from interested parties.
Since last summer, the airport has been leased by a company called Carnmore Aviation Ltd, a subsidiary of the Weston private airport near Dublin – accommodating private flights, the local flying club and the Coast Guard.
Mayor of Galway, Cllr Donal Lyons, told the Galway City Tribune that the Carnmore Airport site (c. 115 acres) was a prime location offering many potential choices.
“The construction of the M17/18 motorway will mean that the city will be only about threequarters of an hour from Shannon – another international airport in Galway would not be an option,” said Mayor Lyons.
He said that over recent months there had been a number of expressions of interest in projects for the site, including one from the local film industry.
“The reality of the situation at present is that both Galway City Council and the County Council are awaiting a report on the future viability and options for the site. Our next step is to get this report and to consider it in detail,” said Mayor Lyons.
A spokesman for the City Council said that the report on the site, being carried out by Future Analytics Ltd, was due to be presented to both Councils “very shortly”.
“This report will be examined closely by both local authorities and after that they should be in a position to make recommendations as to the future direction of the site,” said City Council spokesman.
Last summer, Carnmore Aviation – owned by a Balllinasloe based company, Conneely Engineering – took an 11 month lease on the airport site that’s due to expire over the coming months.
Carnmore Aviation is understood to be anxious to develop the airport site as a major European centre for the training and up-skilling of pilots, at a location where air space is relatively clear.
The airport site was purchased by Galway County Council and Galway City Council from the Chamber of Commerce in late 2013 for €1.1m.
Teenager caught with €20,000 worth of cannabis
A teenager was stopped and searched by Gardaí in Eyre Square on Monday evening, and found in possession of an estimated €20,000 worth of cannabis.
Members of the Galway Divisional Drugs Unit stopped the man, aged in his late teens, at around 6pm and searched him under the Misuse of Drugs Act. During the search the man was found in possession of a €20,000 of suspected cannabis herb. The drugs seized will be sent for forensic analysis.
He was arrested and detained at Garda Headquarters in Renmore and was released from custody this morning. A file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Level 5 ‘lockdown’ restrictions from midnight Wednesday
‘Crass stupidity’ to allow Leisureland close
The looming threat of closure for Leisureland after Christmas amounts to “crass stupidity” and requires an urgent commitment for funding from Government, according to a local TD.
Deputy Catherine Connolly told the Galway City Tribune she had raised the issue in the Dáil with the Minister of State for Local Government and he had expressed an openness to meeting with a delegation from City Hall in relation to the City Council-owned facility’s dire financial situation.
“It’s simply not acceptable that a public swimming pool would close when we have the Minister for Finance announcing a budget of €18 billion this week – that’s Monopoly money.
“We have €18 billion to dispense and the challenge is to do that in a way that ensures a basic level of services below which we cannot go, and that requires funding the local authority. The local authority is fundamental in any civilised society, as are the services it provides,” said the Independent Deputy.
Raising the issue in Leinster House, Deputy Connolly said that Leisureland was an excellent public facility that had been open since 1973 and had broke even for the last number of years, but had run into major funding shortfalls as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
“It is a fantastic swimming pool. I must declare a conflict of interest as I use it every weekend, It helps to keep me semi-sane and semi-fit.
“No public swimming pool makes money and few of them break even. This pool needed money due to Covid-19 and the difficulties experienced by every public swimming pool in the country. The management in the City Council said it was not in a position to give it money and that the swimming pool would have to close,” said Deputy Connolly, adding that the decision had been made and staff were informed.
Due to public pressure and resistance from local councillors, the decision was reversed and €207,000 in funding had been provided by the Council Executive.
“However, it pointed out that the money was coming out of next year’s budget, so it could not continue, and it would not be in a position to fund it.
“I do not expect miracles, but I expect commitment from the Minister and the Government that, regardless of what happens, we are not going to close public swimming pools or public libraries. They are essential services,” said Deputy Connolly.
She said €2.5 million in funding had been made available for “swimming pools with public access” in the private sector as part of the Government’s July Stimulus package, but nothing for publicly-owned facilities.
“It is very ironic if we are going to keep private swimming pools open once they have some limited access to the public, while we close down the public swimming pools,” she added.
Responding, Minister Peter Burke said his Department was keeping spending and cash flow at local authorities under constant review and would continue to work with Galway City Council to address issues.
“My Department is engaging with representatives of the local government sector and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the financial challenges facing local authorities as a direct consequence of the pandemic, in terms of additional costs incurred as part of the local government response and decline in local authority income streams.
“I will do my very best with regard to the Deputy’s ask. I would be willing to meet a delegation from the City Council in connection with this issue. However, there are going to be significant asks emanating from this crisis. We are doing our very best to make what we have go as far as it can. It presents a major challenge,” said Minister Burke.