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Youths lure swans to the shore – to attack them

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A group of students lured swans close to shore with chunks of bread – before attacking them with stones in the Claddagh.

Their cruelty was witnessed by a number of shocked passers-by – including Robert O’Neill, his brother Gerard and sister Josephine, who were walking his dog when the incident occurred at 10am last Tuesday morning.

A gang of eight people, believed to be students aged around seventeen and eighteen, first started firing stones at smaller birds in the area.

Using the bread as bait, the students attracted the attention of nearby swans who began to swim across the basin to the opposite side where the incident took place.

Gerry, Josephine and Robert O'Neill who halted the youths attacking the swans. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnesy.

Gerry, Josephine and Robert O’Neill who halted the youths attacking the swans. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnesy.

One student was feeding white bread to the birds while the others threw stones at the swans as they came into range.

“We were walking past and heard the screeching of the birds so we looked over,” said Robert.

“At first we thought it was probably the fish they were screeching about and it’s still mackerel season here, but when we looked over we saw the teenagers throwing stones.

“One of them was feeding the birds while the others were pegging stones at them as they were in the air,” he explained.

One of the men pulled up his hood when Robert and his siblings began shouting at them. “From the sounds of their voices, they sounded like they were Spanish,” he said.

“We started shouting at them telling them to stop so they started throwing more bread to make it look like they were just feeding them.

“But you’re not supposed to feed the birds white bread either. There’s a sign saying it.”

There is a sign in front of the popular Claddagh basin clearly warning people not to feed white or moulded bread to birds, as it can cause Pink Feather Flamingo Syndrome which was a major problem for the Claddagh swans several years ago.

The disease causes the swans to lose their waterproof coating and, without this insulation, the swans become hypothermic which can result in death.

“There were a couple of joggers on their morning runs who stopped and looked over as well,” said Josephine. “When we told them what was going on, they were upset that such a thing was happening.”

Gerard told of other problems facing the swans. “There is a problem with tourists and some people who mightn’t be from the area releasing their dogs, usually pit bulls, on the swans and letting them attack them,” he said.

Dogs are supposed to be kept on a leash as indicated by another sign which seems to go ignored, along with the bread sign.

The students left the scene before anything could be done.

Almost a fortnight ago, a gannet arrived in the basin for a day before flying elsewhere, causing much entertainment for Claddagh locals.

Gannets, with a wingspan of up to two metres with a white and yellow colouring, usually don’t come into shore.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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