The owner of a Tuam hotel has flatly refuted rumours that the property is up for sale . . . in fact he said that he has plans to invest in the business over the coming years.
Rumours had circulated in Tuam that the Ard Ri House Hotel was being sold and that a local business person was interested in acquiring it.
But the owner of the Ard Ri, Tom McHugh, said simply: “The hotel is not for sale.”
The hotel on the Milltown Road in Tuam opened eight years ago and employs 50 staff, between full-time and part-time, and is a very popular venue for weddings and socials.
It was developed on the old Telecom Eireann site on the outskirts of Tuam by the builder and developer who is also a member of Galway County Council.
The construction was a welcome development for the town and provided a venue that could accommodate large weddings and other functions.
Mr McHugh said that the mortgage on the hotel was now owned by a financial institution in America having been sold on from the Ulster Bank and that he was now in the process of buying it back.
“They sold on the debt to a financial institution whose name we know, but apart from that there is very little contact”, he explained.
He told The Connacht Tribune that the hotel would soon be in a position to hopefully repay the mortgage on the property and then carry out a major investment in the business.
“Rumours of my demise in the hotel business have been greatly exaggerated”, he remarked.
“The hotel has been doing very well and, in recent years, a lot better than the building industry. There have been some rumours and I don’t know where they came from but my hotel is not for sale and there is no question about that.
“In fact we are investing in the hotel to upgrade it and that is our intention in the next couple of years. It is a very competitive business but we have established a good customer base and excellent staff.
“It is a tough industry but we are busy marketing the hotel and I can say that business is good. We are delighted to be in a position to employ very good local staff and the feedback from customers has been very positive”, Mr McHugh added.
Tom McHugh is a long serving member of Galway County Council as is currently the Cathaoirleach of Tuam Municipal Council.
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Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races
On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.
But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.
“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”
We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.
Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.
To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.
He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.
Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.
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.”