Rates, reduction in business blamed for venues’ failure
Rental rates and a reduction in business are blamed for the closure of a number of the most popular venues in Galway city.
Cuba on Eyre Square, The Cellar Bar and Harvest off licence premises, all part of the Jona Group owned by the Grealish family, go into voluntary liquidation with the loss of 85 jobs.
John Grealish, a director of the group, says they had no choice but to close, saying they had tried to save the businesses by agreeing reduced rents, but that most landlords would not agree to make reductions.
Zhivago latest victim of recession
One of the longest established music stores in the west of Ireland, Zhivago, becomes the latest victim of the recession.
Twelve jobs are lost at the music store in Galway city centre, after Sound City Galway Limited, which operated the store and another outlet at Galway Shopping Centre, goes into voluntary liquidation.
Zhivago began business when Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road opened in 1973.
Joe Carroll of Zhivago says it is with regret and sadness that they had to stop trading after almost 40 years in business.
Airport supporters vow to secure facility’s future
Management at Galway Airport and local representatives vow to not give up the fight to secure the future of the facility, following confirmation that public service obligation (PSO) funding for flights between Dublin and Galway will be ceased in July
Managing Director Joe Walsh expresses his concern for the future of the airport, but reiterates that he is committed to servicing the business need for connectivity through Dublin Airport and will be progressing with “detailed discussions in this regard”.
O Cuív makes bid for leadership
Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív makes an unsuccessful attempt to become the eighth leader of Fianna Fáil, 85 years after his grandfather Éamon de Valera became the first head of the party.
But, despite liaising with sitting TDs in an effort to secure sufficient support, he is beaten to the top job by party colleague Michael Martin.
Galway film goes international
The rights to a film shot on location in Galway are acquired by Sony Pictures Classics.
‘The Guard’ wins over audiences and wows the critics at the Sundance Film Festival, prompting the distribution company to purchase the US and Latin America rights to the film, parts of which were filmed in Connemara, Spiddal and Barna.
The Element Pictures production was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, the brother of playwright Martin McDonagh, and stars Brendan Gleeson as the eponymous guard who must work together with ‘Hotel Rwanda’ star Don Cheadle to take down an international drugs ring.
Down to the wire for United
Galway United appeals the independent Club Licensing Committee’s decision to refuse to grant the club a licence to play in the premier division for 2011.
United’s failure to secure the permit hinged on the lack of a tax clearance certificate and the failure to confirm payment agreements with two former employees.
The licence is sealed on appeal after the club reached agreements over wages owed to a number of players.
Lucky escape for couple
A couple has a remarkable escape when a passenger train ploughs into their car at a level crossing.
The couple miraculously walk away from the horrific smash, which happened on the outskirts of Galway city in February.
It is believed that the gates to the level crossing had been left open by the previous person to cross the track.
The accident happened at Murrough on the east of Galway as the 9.30am passenger train from Dublin was making its final approach to the city.
Mascot floored by rowdy fans
Tough tackling may be commonplace in rugby but Connacht suffer an unusual casualty in February when their mascot is accosted by a supporter.
Eddie the Eagle is a regular feature at Connacht rugby games at the Sportsground in Galway and usually spends his time urging on the home side and goading the supporters from the opposition.
But it was all too much for around half a dozen Glaswegians as one of them scaled the fence and lunged at the mascot, dislocating his shoulder.
Candidates support ‘traditional right’ to cut turf
Environment Minister Éamon Ó Cuív confirms there will be no change in relation to the cutting of blanket bogs this year.
Last May, then-Minister for the Environment John Gormley announced that the derogation granted in 1999 to allow a continuation of domestic turf cutting had ended for 32 raised bogs, including nine in County Galway, that are classified as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), under the European Union’s Habitats Directive.
The move affects around 750 people who had been harvesting turf from the bogs in recent years, and similar derogations will end for a further 24 SACs at the end of 2011, including four in County Galway, and for 75 Natural Heritage Areas at the end of 2013.
All change in Galway West
After 66 hours of counting over four days, Fine Gael’s Seán Kyne becomes the fifth Galway West candidate elected in this year’s general election.
Kyne joins party colleague Brian Walsh, independent candidate Noel Grealish, Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív and Labour’s Derek Nolan.
Some familiar faces lose out, including Fine Gael’s Fidelma Healy Eames, independent Catherine Connolly and sitting TD Frank Fahey.
Labour makes history in Galway East
The Labour Party opens a new chapter in their history when Colm Keaveney becomes the first party candidate to take a Dáil seat in the Galway East constituency.
Keaveney trailed in behind two new faces, Paul Connaughton Jnr and his party colleague Ciaran Cannon, while Micheal Kitt bucked a national trend and held on to his Fianna Fáil seat.
Tim Broderick and Tom McHugh performed admirably but were eliminated after the seventh and eight counts.
Calls for end to college tradition
Up to eight city students wake up to a massive hangover as they discover they could face court charges for anti-social behaviour during NUI Galway’s ‘College Week’ festivities.
Gardaí apprehended over 30 students during the weeklong event, with many held on charges of criminal damage, intimidation, and drunk and disorderly behaviour.
Rowdy students lit a fire and threw glass bottles at the Dun na Coiribe estate on the Headford Road heralding the beginning of a ‘reign of terror’ on many local residents.
With the level of arrests and anti-social behaviour exceeding previous, there are calls for the event to be abolished for good.
Businesses destroyed in Riverside fire
Fire crews from the city, Athenry, Tuam, Loughrea, Gort and Ennis battle a ferocious fire, which destroys a number of business premises in the Riverside Industrial Estate.
While there are no injuries, the Black Dragon Kickboxing Club’s new 5,000 square foot premises is gutted it, while the Celtic Futon Store and other businesses are damaged.
Communications multinational creates 75 new jobs
Seventy-five new jobs are confirmed for Galway, as communications multinational Avaya announces an “aggressive expansion” into the European market.
The company officially launches its Customer Experience Centre at Mervue Business Park at a special event attended by Avaya’s Europe Middle East and Africa President Michael Bayer and IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary.
Avaya uses the occasion to announce that it plans to expand the workforce at the Galway-based global R&D; facility over the coming year, providing a much-needed employment boost for the region.
Go ahead for new reservoir
A proposal to build a new €2 million reservoir close to the existing Tonabrocky reservoir is approved by the Department of the Environment.
The new reservoir will supply water to the Ballymoneen, Clybaun, Cappagh Road, Rahoon, Kingston Road, Letteragh and Ballyburke areas of Galway City, in addition to Barna and Moycullen.
The development is part of the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012.
Galway bids farewell to ‘jinxed’ boats
After a 26-day saga littered with delays, errors and a near shipwreck, Galway finally waves goodbye to two former Aran ferries on board the ‘Thor Gitta’ cargo ship.
The Danish registered ship departed Galway port at high tide and began its estimated 25-day voyage to Mauritius, the new home of the sister passenger ferries.
Initial efforts to load the ferries were abandoned as the ‘Clann na nOileain’ plunged 40 feet as it was being hoisted on to a large cargo ship. Three workers, including a father and son, suffered minor injuries in the incident.
A week earlier, the ‘Pantanal’, a 120-metre cargo vessel that arrived in Ireland to transport the two ferries, was damaged after it went aground on rocks in storm close to Rossaveal in Connemara.
Houses threatened in gorse blaze
An extensive gorse fire in the Galway suburb of Knocknacarra threatens housing.
The fire broke out in vegetation at Ballymoneen and several units of Galway Fire Brigade spent a number of hours bringing it under control, assisted by the Garda Siochána.
Woodlawn resists protest against poor train service
More than 200 angry Galway residents throng Woodlawn train station in protest at the lack of services at the county station.
Locals at Woodlawn have been campaigning for over five years for an extension to commuter services at the stop, arguing that the current service to Ballinasloe, Athlone and Dublin is insufficient to cater for the needs of the surrounding population.
Hundreds of acres across County Galway are destroyed as numerous gorse and bog fires take hold.
Areas in Mountbellew, Kiltullagh, Loughrea and Connemara are left battling the blazes as the extended period of dry weather leaves bog lands in a vulnerable state.
The series of fires started in the special area of conservation bogs in Mountbellew, while areas near to the Ballymoneen Road in Knocknacarra also suffered damage.
Bogs close to the M6 motorway in Killimordaly and Kiltullagh went ablaze, causing poor visibility in the area.
Happy Days for local Lotto winner
One Galway family wakes up €5 million richer, after scooping the multi-million jackpot in National Lottery draw in May.
The family group purchased a Quickpick ticket from Happy Days newsagents in the Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road like hundreds of other shoppers. But they were the lucky player, picking up a cheque for €5,076,220 at the National Lottery offices.
The group, who chose to remain anonymous, say they are “delighted” with their win but had no immediate plans for the money.
‘Matthew did not kill himself’
The family of an Irish man who died in suspicious circumstances in Germany say they believe he did not commit suicide.
The family of Matthew Fitzpatrick from Co. Galway call on the Irish government to get German officials to re-open investigations into his death, which was recorded as suicide.
Doubt looms over Cordil projects
The future of a number of projects in the city are plunged into doubt, following a cessation of work on Cordil Construction sites.
The well-known Galway construction company temporarily lays off hundreds of workers due to cash flow difficulties.
Cordil Construction claims that it is owned a significant amount of money from the Government and will need to secure an emergency overdraft in order to proceed with its current projects.
Among the projects halted are the long-awaited Solas Arthouse Cinema, which has been under construction at 15 Lower Merchants Road since late 2009.
Connacht reach Heineken Cup for first time
Galway businesses begin to prepare for a autumn and winter windfall after Connacht Rugby claims a spot in the Heineken Cup competition for the first time.
With their spot in the blue riband event secured, Connacht are quick off the mark with season ticket bargains already available to supporters.
Cllrs vote to remove roundabouts
Galway City Councillors vote in favour of the first phase of a new traffic management programme for the N6.
The Bothar na dTreabh (N6) Multi-Modal Corridor Improvement Scheme will see up to eight roundabouts across the city replaced with signalled junctions, controlled by a manned Urban Traffic Control Centre (UTC).
The scheme is described as the most contentious issue to come before the council since the proposed relocation of ‘The Bish’ secondary school in 2004, with the local business community largely opposed to the plans.
Connacht bag big guns in Heineken Cup
Connacht Rugby are paired with four-time winners and French champions Toulouse, Amlin Cup champions Harlequins and top English side Gloucester in the Heineken Cup draw.
Director of coaching, Eric Elwood says he is delighted about getting the three powerhouses coming to the Sportsground in quick succession.
“Well the big one is Toulouse; obviously getting them into the Sportsground will be huge for us. We were all hoping to draw them and, now we have, we cannot wait for the game,” he adds.
Michael D on the road to Aras
Former Galway West TD Michael D Higgins officially takes to the campaign trail, after being selected as the Labour Party’s candidate for the Presidential election.
Speaking after the vote, Mr Higgins says he is honoured to have been selected as his party’s candidate, and that he intended to run an “energetic” election campaign that would bring him all over the country prior to the election in October.
New business focus to 2012/13 VOR stopover
After showing the world how to host the Volvo Ocean Race in 2009, Let’s Do It Global unveil plans for the Galway stopover, exactly one year before the race hits Irish shores again next year.
A new business focus will form a large portion of next summer’s events, while the festival entertainment is promised to be bigger and better than before.
Galway was lauded as the example to all future stopovers by the race organisers after the VOR hit our shores in 2009, but according to new Chairman of Let’s Do It Global, John Killeen, it was also a missed chance to build our business reputation.
Galway forward costs employer €10k
Galway forward Paul Conroy costs his employers €10,000 when he scores against Mayo in the Connacht semi-final.
The game may have been an abject disappointment for Galway supporters, but All-Ireland U-21 winning boss Alan Mulholland – who since took over from Tomás Ó Flatharta – had even more reason to be crestfallen, as he was €10,000 out of pocket.
Conroy works for John Mulholland Bookmakers – along with Galway goalkeeper Adrian Faherty – and the firm agreed to hand back losing bets if Conroy found the net or Faherty saved a penalty.
Controversial rezoning gets go-ahead
Galway City Councillors vote to permit the controversial rezoning of a site on the west side of the city, despite warnings that a proposed development on the site could damage existing retail developments.
At the meeting, eight councillors out of 15 supported a motion to re-classify land off the Seamus Quirke Road, owned by former Fianna Fáil Mayor Michéal Ó hUiginn, as a designated district centre.
It is proposed that the site, which was already zoned for commercial and industrial purposes, could house a €35 million retail development anchored by British retail giant Tesco.
Tourists injured in Aran accident
An investigation is launched after three elderly German tourists and the operator of a horse-drawn cart have to be airlifted from an offshore island.
The accident happened on Inish Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands, as the horse and cart was making its way down a steep hill towards Dun Aengus fort.
The horse became separated from the cart and all four were injured and had to be airlifted to University College Hospital Galway for treatment.
Misterman playwright inspired by Riney murder
The playwright behind one of the central theatre pieces at this year’s Galway Arts Festival admits he was initially inspired to write the drama after reading an article about Clare man Brendan O’Donnell, who was convicted in 1996 of the murders of Imelda Riney, her three-year-old son Liam and Galway priest Fr Joseph Walsh.
Mr Walsh was speaking at a press conference in the city to update the media on Landmark Productions and Galway Arts Festival’s co-production of Misterman, written and directed by Walsh and starring Cillian Murphy.
Sponsors flock in for the Races
The Galway Races Festival is given a timely boost with the confirmation that a number of new sponsors have come on board for the weeklong racing festival.
Leading bookmaker Ladbrokes gave a major injection to the festival with their sponsorship of six of the seven races on Saturday’s card.
As well as Ladbrokes deal, Guinness has sponsored the Thursday afternoon and Friday evening sessions and are responsible for the richest National Hunt race being run in Ireland this year: Thursday’s €260,000 Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle.
Taxi crackdown will not be enough
A local taxi driver says attempts by the Taxi Regulator to curb hundreds of ‘rogue’ cabs coming to Galway during Race Week will not be enough.
Derek Hambleton, a taxi driver with 27 years experience, says he has little or no faith in regulator promises to clampdown.
Taxi drivers also say that violence could erupt between the already under pressure Galway natives and the visiting cabbies if stronger measures are not taken.
Mr Hambleton says the influx of unlicensed drivers adds more pressure to the already overflowing taxi ranks, which he says are “insufficient” to cope with the legal taxi drivers already in the city.
A 30-year old Galway woman is charged with the murder of a man in Salthill.
Maire Thornton of Apartment 1, 183 Upper Salthill appears before Galway District Court charged with the murder of Kevin Joyce (59) at the same address.
Mr Joyce, from Rockmount Road in Highfield Park, died on a veranda in an apartment complex in Salthill.
A post mortem examination carried out by Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Khalid Jaber found that he had died from multiple stab wounds.
Latvian murder hunt extends abroad
Gardaí investigating the murder of a Latvian man in Co. Galway search for a man who they fear may no longer be in the jurisdiction.
The search for the man spreads abroad after Gardaí launch a murder hunt week after receiving the results of a post-mortem carried out on the body of Juris Buls (30).
Mr Buls’ body was found on 23 July in a wooded area near Creggs, about ten kilometres from his home in Glenamaddy. Mr Buls, who worked at Titans Plastics in Glenamaddy, was last seen on 7 July. The results of the post mortem, which was carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, are not been disclosed for operational reasons.
Loughrea pensioner gets message from the Queen
An elderly Galway pensioner is the envy of his friends in a day centre when the Queen sends him a message thanking him for good wishes he expressed about her visit to Ireland.
Ninety-year-old William Concannon attends St Martin’s day centre in Loughrea. He was so impressed with the Queen’s visit that he decided to write to her to tell her how uplifting it was.
“Letters such as yours are a source of great pleasure and encouragement to The Queen, and both she and The Duke of Edinburgh are most grateful for your thoughtfulness in writing as you did,” said the reply from the Queen.
Luxury dealership closes
One of the country’s leading dealers in luxury cars at the height of the Celtic Tiger goes out of business.
The owners of Cunningham Higgins in Galway, which specialised in top of the range luxury cars such as Bentley, Porche, Maserati, Mercedes Benz and Austin Martin, said they had no choice but to close after the market collapsed.
The closure results in the loss of about 15 jobs in the business, which was started 12 years ago.
Education Minister congratulates Clifden students
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn gets his sums right on Leaving Certificate results day when he turns up at a school in Connemara where everyone passed maths.
The Minister was in Connemara as students from Clifden Community School turned up to get their results. Mr Quinn was on holidays in Roundstone when he decided to visit the school.
Principal of Clifden Community College, Liam Bolger, was thrilled with the results of his 55 Leaving Certificate students, especially with a 100 per cent pass rate for Mathematics in the school, unlike the ten per cent failure rate nationally.
UHG at ‘breaking point’
The organisation that represents nurses in the country says it is “concerned and frustrated” by the overcrowding at University Hospital Galway (UHG).
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) showed that 554 patients were on trolleys at the hospital in August, while 232 were recorded at the same time last year, a rise of 138.7 per cent.
INMO figures also show that 24 beds were closed at University Hospital Galway (UHG) as of 1 September.
INMO industrial relations officer Noreen Muldoon said the recruitment moratorium is causing “chaos” in the hospital and has called for it to be lifted.
City council formally backs Davis nomination
Galway City Council formally backs the nomination of Independent Presidential candidate Mary Davis.
Seven councillors vote to support the motion proposed by Independent Cllr Terry O’Flaherty and seconded by Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael Crowe that the council back Ms Davis’ bid for the Presidency.
Fire damaged Shannon Oaks to be rebuilt
Management at the landmark Shannon Oaks Hotel in Portumna, which was badly damaged in a fire, announce that the hotel is to be rebuilt.
The Shannon Oaks Hotel in Portumna is one of the best known in the region and caters for weddings for people from Galway, Offaly and Tipperary and outlying counties.
The fire broke out in the kitchen and fire crews who rushed to the scene battled as the blaze raged for over five hours. Initial investigations suggested a chip pan might have caused the fire.
Missing diver’s remains recovered
The remains of Polish diver Artur Kozlowski are finally recovered from caves near Gort, six days after he goes missing.
Kozlowski entered Pollonora cave at around 3pm on Monday, 5 September with a companion, but did not resurface by a pre-agreed time.
Oughterard publican murdered
Gardaí in Oughterard launch a murder inquiry after a post mortem examination confirms that a local schoolteacher died after an assault in his family pub.
Gardaí investigating the death of John Kenny (56) at his pub in Oughterard believe that the attacker may have been known to Mr Kenny.
Mr Kenny, who was a teacher at Presentation College in Athenry, only opened the pub on Saturday nights at this time of year.
His body was discovered by his daughter Gillian, who is also a teacher in Presentation College in Athenry, when she went to the pub on Main Street in Oughterard after becoming concerned for his wellbeing.
52 patients on trolleys at UHG
It is revealed that a record 52 patients are on trolleys at the Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway with full capacity protocol in operation for the second day in a row.
A spokesperson for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said they were “appalled at the ongoing level of overcrowding” and that conditions are “almost unbearable for patients and staff”.
The INMO claims the bed capacity problem “has deteriorated further in recent weeks” because of delays in transferring patients, who no longer need acute care, into long term facilities.
Galway man shot dead in US
An Inis Meain native in his mid 30s is shot dead in the United States.
Reports claim the man, named locally as Ciaran Ó Conghaile, was shot in the chest on a street outside his home in Dorchester, Boston at approximately 1am (6am Irish time) on Monday 10 October. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The shooting happened after the end of the area’s annual Irish Heritage Festival.
Green light for traffic control system
Galway City Council give the green light to the new €1.26 million traffic control system, which it expects to be operational within six months.
The Urban Traffic Control Centre will be based at City Hall and will link up with the city’s 32 traffic light-controlled junctions and synchronise their operation based on traffic flow and demand.
Consultation continues at Galway Airport
Consultation between management and staff at Galway Airport continues, following Aer Arann’s announcement that it is to suspend its services at the airport for the winter season.
The airport employs 55 staff members and Galway Airport Managing Director Joe Walsh says it is still too early to comment on redundancies at the facility.
Occupy arrives in Eyre Square
A group of protesters take up residence in Eyre Square, as part of a Galway version of the ‘Occupy’ movement that has been sweeping the globe.
The protesters, like their counterparts in over 1,600 cities around the world, say they are demonstrating against the way the world’s banking crisis is being handled.
“We need to make a stand as ordinary people against what’s happening. We are in a complete economic mess at the moment. It’s not the fault of the ordinary people at all and yet we are being made to pay for it,” says Ciara Coy.
Michael D becomes President Higgins
Michael D Higgins receives a hero’s welcome when he addresses a 5,000 strong crowd in Eyre Square after winning the election to become President of Ireland.
President Higgins became the first candidate to receive over 1,000,000 votes in an Irish election campaign, as he raced ahead of Seán Gallagher and the chasing pack on polling day.
Chamber accuses TD of ‘Pontius Pilate’ stance
A row breaks out between Galway Airport management and Galway West TD Brian Walsh over comments the latter made about the sustainability of the Carnmore facility.
Deputy Walsh said that Aer Arann’s decision to end flights for the winter was a commercial decision by a private company adding that the Government “have no role to play in its decision”.
However, Galway Chamber CEO Michael Coyle accused Deputy Walsh of adopting a “Pontius Pilate” attitude in distancing the Government from any blame for what has happened to the airport. Galway Chamber is the majority stakeholder in Galway Airport.
Heineken Cup at last!
Connacht Rugby end a 16-year wait to play in the Heineken Cup, the world’s top club rugby competition, when they take on Harlequins at The Stoop.
After a thrilling encounter, Connacht end up on the losing side, but the arrival of European aristocrats Toulouse to the Sportsground the following week softens the blow somewhat.
The results don’t get any better against the French side, but the city of Galway turns green for the occasion, with more than 9,000 spectators packing into a sold-out College Road venue.
Galway projects escape the axe
A number of infrastructure projects earmarked for Galway escape the axe after the conclusion of the Government’s Comprehensive Review of Spending.
Planning will continue on the N59 Moycullen Bypass, the Oughterard to Clifden route and the Galway City Outer Bypass (GCOB), while work on the Oranmore train station is set to begin in January.
Christmas market opens it doors
Mayor of Galway City Cllr Hildegarde Naughton officially opens the Galway Continental Christmas Market with the switching of the city’s Christmas lights.
Work began on building the market after Occupy Galway relocated their camp to the north east corner of Eyre Square.
Council’s €5 million overspend
It is confirmed that the cost of improvement works to Seamus Quirke Road will reach over €15 million.
Embattled city council officials admit the project, which encompasses 1.6km of roadway with a bus lane in each direction and off-road cycle lanes and footpaths, has run an extraordinary €5.2 million over budget.
The project has been mired by time delays and design difficulties, resulting in speculation that the original €10.3 million budget would be vastly overrun.
Galway production takes New York by storm
The runaway hit of this year’s Galway Arts Festival, ‘Misterman’ by Enda Walsh, opens to rave reviews in New York.
The Landmark and Galway Arts Festival co-production, which stars Cillian Murphy, receives a phenomenal reaction from audiences, with standing ovations each evening.
Speaking from New York, Galway Arts Festival’s Artistic Director and Producer of ‘Misterman’ Paul Fahy says he is “delighted” with the response.
Dogs robbed from GSPCA depot
Gardaí issue an appeal to the public to help them tracking down the thieves who ransacked the Galway Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) sanctuary and made their getaway with five dogs.
The GSPCA facility, located near the village of Killimor, was ransacked during the raid and dogs, which were taken from their owners in cruelty cases, were all stolen.
Margaret O’Sullivan, spokesperson for the GSPCA, says some of the animals stolen are in need of veterinary attention because of injuries.
Two-year delay for city bypass
Plans for the Galway City Outer Bypass suffer a “serious setback”, amid claims that a decision on the project will not be made in Europe for at least another two years.
The multi-million road project has been on hold pending a decision from the European Court of Justice for over a year, following claims that plans for the motorway contravene an EU Habitats Directive.
In a statement on the issue, Lynn Hewitt of the ECJ Registry said there was no date fixed for the oral hearing.