Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Galway City Council’s green light for St Patrick’s Weekend festival



The St Patrick’s Day Parade will make a welcome return to Galway City streets this year, with the Council confirming it is to run a four-day festival over the extended long weekend.

The parade was one of the first events to get the chop in 2020 amid rising Covid figures and did not take place last year as restrictions continued – but councillors gave the green light at a meeting on Monday evening for the 2022 parade to proceed.

A crowd of up to 30,000 is expected to attend the parade on March 17 – set to commence from NUIG at 11.30am and proceed through Courthouse Square, Eglinton Street, Williamsgate Street and Eyre Square before concluding at Prospect Hill.

Senior Executive Planner Liam Blake told councillors that the parade would follow the same route as the 2019 event – avoiding the pedestrianised zones of the city centre.

“It is the same route as was used in 2019. Because of road works [resurfacing on Shop Street in 2019], Gardaí were reluctant to have a crowd down the pedestrian streets,” said Mr Blake.

Gardaí had sought a similar route this year and city planners acceded to their request.

In addition to the parade on St Patrick’s Day, a stretch tent will be installed at the Richardson’s side of Eyre Square where free traditional music concerts will take place at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, with the event to conclude at 8pm.

Adjacent to the tent, a viewing stand is also to be erected where the Mayor, councillors and others will gather – and special arrangements have been made for wheelchair accessible spaces.

Tourism Officer Ruairí Lehmann told the meeting that a series of events were planned between March 17 and 20 – with Friday designated an additional Bank Holiday this year.

Events include music performances to take place in Eyre Square over the four days and there would be a sports and family fun day in Salthill on Saturday, March 19, he said.

“There will be a number of concerts, some night-time events and there will be some alcohol-free events as well,” continued Mr Lehmann.

Cllr Mike Crowe (FF) sought assurances that there would be adequate sanitation facilities in place around the city for the events planned – in particular bins and public toilets.

“There is nothing worse than celebrating a great day but then seeing the city left in a very poor condition afterwards,” said Cllr Crowe.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said it was great for the city to return to normal and called for a theme of peace to be adopted for the parade, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She said it should be ensured that adequate security was provided over the festivities and said: “We do not want St Patrick’s Day turned into a day of public drinking which causes concern for residents”.

Mr Lehmann said the Council’s Environment Department would be tasked with ensuring sanitation measures would be in place and confirmed that stewards would be operating around the city for the duration of the parade and afterwards.

“There is no specific theme for the parade this year because we wanted as many groups as possible to take part – a number of groups had already prepared for the 2020 parade,” he added.


Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

Continue Reading


Official opening of Galway’s new pedestrian and cycle bridge



The new Salmon Weir pedestrian and cycle bridge will be officially opened to the public next Friday, May 26.

Work on the €10 million bridge got underway in April 2022, before the main structure was hoisted into place in early December.

A lunchtime tape-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, as the first pedestrians and cyclists traverse the as-yet-unnamed bridge.

The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, previously said the bridge, once opened, would remove existing conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and traffic “as well as facilitating the Cross-City Link public transport corridor over the existing 200-year-old bridge”.

The naming of the new bridge has been under discussion by the Council’s Civic Commemorations Committee since late last year.

One name that has been in the mix for some time is that of the first woman in Europe to graduate with an engineering degree – Alice Perry.

Ms Perry, who was from Wellpark, graduated from Queen’s College Galway (now University of Galway) in 1906. The university’s engineering building is named in her honour.

The bridge was built by Jons Civil Engineering firm in County Meath and was assembled off-site before being transported to Galway. Funding for the project was provided in full by the National Transport Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.

(Photo: Sheila Gallagher captured the city’s new pedestrian footbridge being raised on the south side of the Salmon Weir Bridge in December. It will officially open next Friday, May 26).

Continue Reading


Minister branded ‘a disgrace’ for reversing land rezoning in Galway City



From the Galway City Tribune – Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell was labelled a “disgrace” for overturning councillors’ decisions to rezone land in the new City Development Plan.

Minister O’Donnell (pictured) confirmed in a letter to Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath last week that he was reversing 25 material alternations made by councillors to the CDP 2023-29. He made the decision on the advice of Office of Planning Regulator (OPR).

Minister O’Donnell directed that 14 land parcels that were subject to land-use zoning changes by councillors as part of the Material Alterations to the Draft CDP should be reversed.

He directed that a further 11 land parcels in the city should become “unzoned”.

The Minister found that the CDP had not been made in a manner consistent with recommendations of the OPR, which required specific changes to the plan to ensure consistency with the national planning laws and guidelines.

At last week’s Council meeting Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) asked for clarity on the process by which councillors could rezone the lands that had been changed by the Minister’s direction.

Cllr Declan McDonnell said, “What he [Minister O’Donnell] has done is an absolute disgrace”.

And he asked: “Do we have to have another development plan meeting to deal with it?”

Both Cllrs Hoare and McDonnell wondered what would become of the lands that were rezoned or unzoned by the ministerial direction.

Mr McGrath said the Council had put forward an argument in favour of retaining the material alterations in the plan, but ultimately the Minister sided with OPR.

He said if councillors want to make alterations to the new plan, they could go through the process of making a material alteration but this was lengthy.

The Save Roscam Peninsula campaign welcomed the Minister’s decision.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, it said the direction would mean the Roscam village area on the Roscam Peninsula will be unzoned and a number of land parcels would revert back to agriculture/high amenity.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “the material alterations made by city councillors following lobbying by developers continued the long-standing practice of councillors facilitating a developer-led plan rather than an evidence- and policy-based plan that meets the needs of the city.

“The Minister’s direction is an important step in restoring confidence in the planning system. It is clear from the City Council’s own evidence on future housing projections that there was no requirement to zone these lands for residential purposes in order to meet the needs of the targeted population increase up to 2029,” the spokesperson added.

Continue Reading