A 35-year-old woman has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing a €12,800 diamond ring which was recovered following an appeal on RTE’s Crimecall programme.
Bernadette McDonagh, from 6 Francis Street, Edenderry, Co. Offaly had been given a choice of either carrying out community service under the supervision of the probation service or serve a prison sentence in lieu, when the matter came before Galway District Court in April.
She pleaded guilty at the time to the theft of a one-carat, round, brilliant-cut diamond, set in a four-claw platinum mount, with a wide platinum shank, valued at €12,800 from Tempo Antiques, Cross Street, on August 10 last year.
Tempo Antiques theft - YouTube
Sentence was adjourned for McDonagh’s suitability to carry out community service be assessed by the probation service.
A negative report was handed into court last Wednesday.
Defence barrister, Garry McDonald, said McDonagh had told the probation officer she could not do community service because she was a full-time carer for her partner, her sister and her young child. She had health problems herself too, he added.
Judge Mary Fahy recalled that a very expensive ring had been stolen and that McDonagh had no problem with her partner, sister or child on the day she left Offaly and travelled to Galway to steal the ring.
Mr McDonald said the ring had been recovered immediately.
Judge Fahy said she had accepted McDonagh’s guilty plea in April and had given her a chance to avoid a custodial sentence by doing community service as the ring had been recovered immediately.
Sergeant Aoife Curley corrected this. She said the ring had only been recovered following an appeal on Crimecall and it had not been recovered immediately, as suggested by Mr McDonald.
Mr McDonald said McDonagh had no previous convictions and this had been a “once-off”.
Judge Fahy said McDonagh had no difficulties when she left Offaly with her partner and came down to Galway that day.
“She didn’t have to look after her sick partner or her sister that day. I don’t see any medical report that her partner needs care or her sister needs care or she’s in bad health herself,” Judge Fahy added.
Mr McDonald said his client had instructed him she would now do a few hours’ community service one day a week.
Judge Fahy said that wasn’t good enough and that McDonagh had thrown the chance she had been given back in the court’s face.
She sentenced McDonagh to six months in prison and refused the barrister’s application to suspend the sentence.
“The manner in which she had dealt with this leaves a lot to be desired. She’s treated this as if it was a packet of frozen peas,” Judge Fahy said.
A convicted sex offender who murdered a Galway woman at her home in north London, has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 40 years.
32-year-old Kasim Lewis was due to go on trial last week, having previously denied any involvement in the killing of Cathy Burke at her home in at Hill Road, Muswell Hill London.
BY SAM CORBISHLEY
However, last Monday afternoon, he pleaded guilty to her murder.
Last year, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for a separate murder on Christmas Eve, 2017 – just weeks after he murdered Ms Burke.
After his conviction, his DNA was linked to the death of Ms Burke, who was found stripped, tied up and stabbed in her house November 16, 2017.
Murderer Kasim Lewis was sentenced to a second life sentence.
The 55-year-old, a retired civil servant who was originally from Glenard in Salthill, had been living in the London property for around 20 years.
Neighbours raised the alarm after she had not been seen for a number of days, and police entered the property. She had been stabbed in the abdomen, between her shoulder blades and in her neck. There were no defensive injuries, the Old Bailey heard.
Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution submission is that Cathy Burke must have simply been too terrified to resist.”
Lewis was linked to the scene by DNA evidence, and experts also tracked Ms Burke’s mobile phones – which had been stolen – in the direction of where Lewis was living.
He is already serving a minimum of 29 years in jail for the brutal murder of barmaid Iuliana Tudos just five weeks after Ms Burke’s murder.
The judge described the barmaid’s murder as “barbaric”, “wicked beyond belief” and said Lewis showed “appalling brutality”.
Ms Burke’s son, Niall Galbally, stared at Lewis through the dock glass as he stepped into the witness box to read a moving victim impact statement.
“November 16, 2017 was the day my life was completely uprooted. My world came crashing down before me. In the midst of my second year at university I received a phone call from a then-neighbour who said the police and ambulance services had been outside our home for some time.
“I will never forget the chilling words that followed – Niall, I don’t know how to tell you this, but they believe your mum has been found dead. Being 70-odd miles away in Brighton, feelings of utter despair and misery have consumed me. Feelings that would only increase in unquantifiable amounts that morning when the police informed me and my family that my mum’s death was now being treated as a murder investigation.
“Growing up in London I had unfortunately become accustomed to hearing about murders on a far too regular basis. Never ever did I expect that murder would land at my front door. Nothing prepares you for that.
“There are simply no amount of words that can describe the sheer devastation that has been caused to me and my family. My life hasn’t been the same since, nor will it be the same again. A wicked and senseless attack that has caused an untold amount of pain.
“A massive hole resides in my heart for the loss of my mother and no amount of justice will mend that. But I take great comfort from the fact that the man responsible for such brutality has been caught.
“This is the close of a horrible chapter in my life, but the opening where I can leave this nightmare behind me,” he said.
He locked eyes on Lewis again as he slowly walked back to his seat in the well of the court.
Mr Aylett told the court: ‘‘It is a statement of the obvious, but whoever was responsible for the murder of Cathy Burke could only have been brutal and perverted.
“More particularly, the prosecution suggests his motive could only have been sexual because he would not, would he, have had to strip Ms Burke naked simply to steal her mobiles.
“On the other hand, this sexually inspired murder took place without any apparent form of sexual assault. The prosecution submit that these circumstances suggest that there must have been a very real risk of the killer striking again, and so it turned out.”
Lewis was sentenced by Judge Richard Marks at the Central Criminal Court – the Old Bailey – on Thursday to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 40 years, to run concurrently to his existing sentence.
Waiting lists for outpatients and inpatients/day cases at University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park are continuing to grow – more than 51,000 people are now on the lists to see a consultant at the two city hospitals.
More people are waiting on the inpatient lists in the city than for any other hospital in the country, while only the Mater in Dublin has a worse outpatients list.
Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish described the figures as ‘unacceptable’ and pointed out that many people waiting for treatment have had to put their lives on hold due to the severity of their conditions.
Many of the patients – who are suffering from serious and debilitating conditions – are faced with lengthy delays for an initial appointment with a consultation, and those figures continue to grow.
A Galway City Tribune analysis of the official figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) shows that at the end of June, there were 7,281 people waiting 18 months or longer for their first outpatient appointment at Galway University Hospitals (both UHG and Merlin combined).
That is up from 5,433 – an increase of just over one third – from the same time last year.
This week, the Galway City Tribune publishes the full breakdown of the lists, by speciality, for the city’s two public hospitals. The lists include outpatients and inpatients/day cases.
The NTPF figures show there are 42,240 people on the waiting list for an outpatient appointment at GUH – that’s up around 8% from 39,184 one year ago.
Around 17% of those people are on the waiting list for 18 months or longer, up from 9% a year ago.
The outpatients list for GUH is the second worst in the country – only the Mater in Dublin has a longer list, with 44,478 people. The next longest lists are in UH Limerick at 35,749 and Tallaght Hospital at 32,656.
The longest waiting lists at Galway City’s two public hospitals are in the areas of orthopaedics (5,586 people); urology (3,740); ENT – Ear, Nose, Throat (3,225); neurology (3,011) and oral surgery (2,970).
For inpatient and day care cases (these are patients waiting for an appointment date for their treatment), GUH is making inroads on the waiting list. There are 8,918 on the waiting list, down 13% from 10,271 a year ago. A total of 1,142 (13%) are waiting 18+ months compared to 1,629 (16%) last year.
The longest waits were in the areas of orthopaedicas (1,297 people); plastic surgery (1,114); ophthamology (1,027); urology (926) and pain relief (886).
There are 104 people on the orthopaedics waiting list who have been waiting more than 18 months; 377 for plastic surgery and 37 on the ophthamology list.
The next longest inpatient list in the country is in Beaumont, with 6,044 people, followed by the Mater at 5,946 and UH Waterford at 5,459.
The NTPF figures also record those patients who have been given a scheduled date for their admission – these are categorised separately as ‘TCI’ (To Come In) – at the moment, there are 1,522 such cases in GUH.
Of these, 1,155 have been waiting less than three months to get their admission date; 154 between three and six months; 57 for six to nine months and 27 for more than 18 months.
There are 262 people at GUH who are waiting for a planned procedure – these are patients who have had a treatment and require additional treatment at a future date (for example, a patient who has had a scope and may require follow-up surveillance monitoring in the future).
Of these, 133 have been given an indicative date in the future and 47 with a date in the past.
Indicative dates are determined by the clinician and treatment before these dates is not regarded as appropriate.
There are 5,394 people waiting on a gastrointestinal endoscopy at GUH – 3,119 of these have been given an indicative date in the future and a further 2,138 with an indicative date in the past.
Reacting to the latest figures, Deputy Noel Grealish said that what was most disturbing was the 34% increase in just one year in the number of people waiting 18 months or more for treatment as an outpatient.
“To have almost 7,300 people, many of them no doubt in considerable pain, being forced to wait more than a year and half just to be seen by a consultant for the first time is simply unacceptable in 2019.
“While the overall outpatient waiting lists for treatment in Galway increased by 8% over the past year, the increase in long-term waits was many times that, up by more than one third of what the total was this time last year.
“That’s an increase, in the space of just a year, of more 1,800 patients waiting more than 18 months to get the treatment they need, people who may have had to put their lives on hold due to the severity of their conditions.”
Deputy Grealish said that one of the most striking increases in long-term waits was faced by people requiring dermatology treatment — their numbers jumped from just 40 in June 2018, to 615 now.
Other areas for which waiting times of 18 months or more had greatly increased over the past year include urology (+370), neurology (+244), general medicine (doubled with an increase of 182), while the numbers waiting long-term for plastic surgery increased from just two last year to 71 now.
“There seems to be a very disturbing trend developing here, particularly in certain specialities, of rapidly increasing long-term waits for treatment to which people are entitled,” said Deputy Grealish.
He added that one notable exception was in the area of rheumatology, where the numbers waiting 18-plus months had been halved, with a 210 reduction since last year. And he welcomed the fact that long-term waiting lists for inpatient treatment had reduced by 10% in Galway over the past year.
HSE blames industrial action for waiting list rise
According to a statement issued by the HSE’s Saolta Group to the Galway City Tribune, the NTPF figures showed a decrease in the number of patients waiting for inpatient or day case procedures in the Saolta Group between June 2018 and June 2019. At GUH, the number of patients waiting reduced from 10,271 to 8,919 and this included a reduction in the number of patients waiting 18+ months.
“However, the number of patients awaiting outpatient appointments increased in the past year. Capacity restrictions both from a clinical and a physical space point of view are two of the most significant challenges faced by GUH.
“In addition, there is continued growth in demand for outpatient services nationally with an increase of 4% referrals year on year and this year industrial action has adversely impacted outpatient services.
“We regret that patients have to wait for their appointments. Every effort is made to maximise capacity and to ensure timely access to treatment and care for our patients with additional clinics being set up as and when possible. We will continue to work with the NTPF on initiatives to deliver additional outpatient appointments in 2019.
“Initiatives to improve capacity at GUH include: In 2018/2019 additional clinics were set up for Plastic Surgery ‘see and treat’ and ENT and planning is underway for an ENT clinic and Dermatology; Physiotherapy Musculoskeletal (MSK) triage by Advanced Practice Physiotherapists who assess patients with soft tissue, bone or joint complaints. 70% of patients are seen and discharged with the remainder referred on to an Orthopaedic Surgeon or Rheumatologist. From January to May this year 1,184 patients were seen by this service.
“The hospital group is leading out nationally on the Urology Pathways of Care project addressing three prioritised areas: Haematuria, Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) and Incontinence management. The direct access ‘one stop’ haematuria service at Roscommon University Hospital is being piloted with a view to reducing waiting times to less than nine months and to free up capacity in GUH.
“The development of Advanced Nurse Practitioners to run their own clinics which provides additional capacity. Text reminders are used to reduce the number of patients who do not turn up. Validation of the waiting lists in GUH is also carried out by the National Validation Unit,” the HSE statement reads.
The inpatient and outpatient waiting lists for UHG and Merlin Park
Councillors have voted to make parking free in the Backlawn Carpark beside Kenny Park in Athenry for three months – in an effort to boost business in the town and make use of the currently “underused” facility.
On a motion put forward by Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) and seconded by Cllr Gabe Cronnelly (Ind), councillors of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District unanimously agreed to make parking in the Backlawn from September to November, with a view to making it permanently free if it successfully increases business in the town.
According to Cllr Herterich Quinn, who said she lived beside the car park and saw daily how underused it is, making parking free would increase the number of spaces in the town centre for more vulnerable road users.
“If we allow it to be free, then it might encourage people to park there, thereby freeing up parking in town and people who are elderly or infirm could use the on-street parking,” she said.
Concurring, Cllr Cronnelly said making parking free would not take up any man hours and said while the car park was much used for games in Kenny Park, it was empty most of the time outside that.
“If the car park was used a bit more, there would be less litter around the clothes banks and bottle banks too.
“In the long-term, I’d be looking to make it free,” he added.
In a report read by Senior Executive Engineer in Roads Paula Higgins said, on average, the 92-space car park was used by six or seven cars per day and the annual take from the Council was €6,000.
While the Council executive welcomed the trial free parking, it requested that councillors find some measure of its success in relation to the suggested impact on the town centre, residents and local businesses.
Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) said he regularly passes the car park and rarely sees any cars in it – adding that estimates by his colleagues of five cars were probably even overstated.
“You wonder, when community wardens have to do a cash call, if the revenue in the machine is even covering the cost of the cash call.
“The way rural towns are going, a lot of trade and retail is barely existing and they’re paying rates, so anything we can do, in the Council and in the Municipal District to generate footfall and revenue for business should be encouraged,” said Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Herterich said that the introduction of free parking had to be “marketed” and that signage should be erected to indicate that it was available in the town.
She also suggested that if this introduction in Athenry was successful, it should be rolled out in other areas – and that it should be done in conjunction with a clamp down on illegal parking in the town centres.
Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind), Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District, agreed and said there would now be “no excuse” for illegal parking or for the streets to be “blocked up”.
Parking at the Backlawn Car Park is currently 70c per hour and €3 per day, but from the first of September to November 30, it will be free.
A second part of Cllr Herterich Quinn’s motion, which called for the introduction of free Christmas parking in Athenry was deferred as it was agreed this should be done, as usual, at the Plenary Council session in November when all towns in the County would be considered for the initiative.
Iarnród Éireann has once again issued a plea to the public and interested organisations to submit their views on the future of the Western Rail Corridor.
With the July 17 deadline looming, people are being reminded that this is their opportunity to shape the future of the disused sections of the corridor, which link Athenry to Tuam and Tuam to Claremorris.
A number of campaign groups have campaigned for different uses of the track, with proposals including the reinstatement of the railway line and the use of the corridor to create a greenway.
Working to the terms of reference as specified by the Department of Transport, consultants EY-DKM Economic Advisory has been commissioned by Iarnród Éireann to carry out an independent financial and economic appraisal of the proposals, and to undertake a public and stakeholder consultation.
The purpose of the appraisal is to establish if the proposed extension of the line from Athenry to Tuam (Phase 2) and from Tuam to Claremorris (Phase 3) would represent value for money to the Irish public.
Phase 1 involved the reinstatement of the Athenry to Ennis line and the re-opening of Oranmore Train Station.
EY-DKM will present their report including findings and recommendations to Iarnród Éireann and the Department by the end of September, before the Department undertakes its own peer review of their report and finalises the process which will ultimately shape their decision on the future of Western Rail Corridor.
Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann, Jim Meade, said there was huge interests in the future of this railway line across the country and people had welcomed the opportunity to put forward their view.
“We would encourage all those who are interested in this issue, regardless of point of view, to participate in the consultation before the deadline to give us a comprehensive understanding of opinions on these proposals,” said Mr Meade.
A Government Minister has lashed out over the limited opening hours at a €10 million primary care centre in Tuam.
Minister Sean Canney said that the fact that the centre closes at lunchtime on Saturdays and doesn’t open at all on a Sunday was ridiculous – and he said it should be rectified without delay, given the amount of money spent on the facility in the first place.
The Primary Care Centre in Tuam serves a population of over 20,000 people and the services provided include public health nurses, community general nurses, a physiotherapist, dieticians and occupational therapists and they will work in conjunction with local GPs.
There is also a new midwife facility there, dental services while the centre will also accommodate around 10,000 x-rays each year – eliminating trips to Galway city for such a service – while it is also the base for the out-of-hours GP service Westdoc.
But Minister Canney says that the HSE West has to renegotiate the contracts with the Primary Care Centre operators in order to rectify the current situation without delay.
“We have a ridiculous situation whereby Tuam Primary Care Centre closes at Saturday lunchtime and does not open on Sundays,” he said.
“Patients cannot be expected to time their medical needs to suit the facilities management of the centre. The Primary Care Centres were supposed to take pressure off the hospitals.
“This an even more acute issue for my constituents while we wait on plans for the new A&E at University Hospital Galway and the new 50-bed unit at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, to be expedited.
“The Primary Care Centre operators are dictating when these facilities open and close. Their operation should be patient-driven.
“The HSE nationally, which signed the contracts, needs to get back in charge and do so as a matter of urgency. It is not fair on the local HSE management who are having to deal with this situation.
“Too much public money has been invested in these centres. It is the public that should be determining when the centres open, not private companies.
“This affects Primary Care Centres nationally. The HSE should intervene to ensure that our services follow the needs of patients and not the administration of buildings,” Minister Canney added.
Tuam Primary Care Centre opened for services in December 2017. The 2,500sqm facility was part of a 14-project Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme to provide Primary Care Centres around Ireland.
Minister Simon Harris was on site to open the facility and it was stated that it would be a ‘one stop shop’ for medical services in the town.
Apart from the Primary Care Centre, the immediate area is the location for the ambulance base, while there are also plans to provide a new mental health centre and a 50-bed community nursing home.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has confirmed that a report on using DNA testing to identify the remains buried at Tuam Mother and Baby Home is currently being considered by her Department – but the report would require legal advice from the Attorney General ahead of its findings being made public.
Minister Katherine Zappone commissioned Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr Geoffrey Shannon to investigate the possibility of compiling a DNA database to compare against DNA profiles which may be generated from juvenile human remains found at the site in an effort to make positive identifications.
The report was due to examine if this can be carried out within the current legislative framework.
“I have received Dr Shannon’s report and it is under consideration in my Department. A requirement has been identified for detailed legal advice and this has been sought from the Office of the Attorney General. That advice will determine the options open to Government,” she said.
Minister Zappone was responding to a question from TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte (FF) who is now calling on the Government to immediately implement supports for the survivors of mother and baby Homes – ahead of the publication of the Commission of Investigation’s report which is not due until February 2020.
Deputy Rabbitte called on the Minister to consider “establishing a redress or compensation scheme for survivors of mother and baby homes”.
In her response, the Minister said that while she appreciated the calls to establish such a scheme were “genuinely made” on behalf of an aging community, such a scheme could not be implemented ahead of the Commission’s report.
“Given that these specific matters have not been central to any previous inquiry, it is not feasible at this interim stage in the Commission’s work to pre-empt its findings and recommendations. To date, the Commission has made no findings about abuse or neglect in any of the institutions within its terms of reference.
“I know that many former residents are eagerly awaiting the completion of this work. When the final reports of the Commission are available, the Government will be in a position to comprehensively respond to the full account of the Commission’s conclusions on all matters regarding the experiences of former residents,” said the Minister.
Deputy Rabbitte asked the Minister to divulge the status of the working group established on supporting survivors and in her response, Minister Zappone confirmed that the group, which is a collaboration between her Department and the Department of Health, had met three times.
“The working group has been tasked with reporting by September in order to facilitate considerations within the estimates process for Budget 2020,” she said.
In relation to commemorating those who were held in the mother and baby homes, Deputy Rabbitte queried if funding could be supplied to survivors for their commemorative events – and the status of a national memorial.
Minister Zappone said her Department had already commenced the detailed scoping work necessary to implement the proposed memorial measures, which had come about in response to the first report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes.
“When Government approved publication of the Forum’s recommendations on 16th April, it also agreed to progress a number of initial related measures. Chief amongst these was a necessity for a comprehensive analysis of all the recommendations in the report, with individual Departments to conduct an assessment of the policy, resource and legislative, of recommendations relevant to their respective Departments.
“I expect to receive feedback from relevant Departments shortly. Once this initial analysis and assessment is complete, my Department will further co-ordinate the response in respect of a number of recommendations, particularly those relating to memorialisation,” said the Minister.
Bradley Bytes – A Political Column with Dara Bradley
Leadership of the Labour Party has finally rediscovered where Galway is. The grassroots of the party in Galway West had been feeling a bit prickly that the upper echelons of the red rose party hadn’t been seen round these parts very often in recent times.
And so, the sight of a few head honchos leaving their ivory towers in Dublin to come west for a Labour Youth conference in the Connacht Hotel at the weekend has helped to boost morale after a poor local election in which Labour lost one of its two City Council seats.
Labour’s lone ranger in Galway, City Councillor Niall ‘this is politics’ McNelis, gave the opening address at the 25th annual Tom Johnson Summer School, which this year focused on the theme of ‘Defending Democracy’.
Among the Labour bigwigs spotted in the City of the Tribes were senators Ged Nash and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin; former minister Alex White; and of course, party leader, Brendan Howlin.
Well-known Labour MP in England, Diane Abbott, was another attraction. But was it another woman who was probably responsible for Labour coming to Galway in the first place?
Step forward Pauline O’Reilly, whose performance in the local elections, has spooked Labour to such an extent that they felt the urge to come back to Galway to protect its patch. Perhaps it’s too late.
Overtaken by the Greens on the local authority, outflanked by the Independent Connolly sisters, Catherine (TD) and Colette (Cllr) and with a smaller and less active organisation on the ground than the Social Democrats and possibly even Solidarity on the hard left, Labour is dying a slow death in Galway West, which was once a stronghold.
All is not lost, however. The sight of Alice Mary Higgins, an accomplished Independent senator in her own right and daughter of President Michael D Higgins, who was once the party’s standard-bearer in the constituency, taking part in the summer school, has given renewed hope to comrades.
She’ll sit this one out, obviously, as McNelis has earned a shot at the Dáil. But her addition to a panel discussion ‘Breaking the Chains of Poverty: Combatting Financial Inequality’ has fuelled speculation that Alice Mary will join the party, and try to save it from itself – and extinction – by contesting a Dáil election in Galway West.
Nurse Martina a hero who does wear cape!
There was some drama at the local ceremony for this year’s National Day of Commemoration to honour all Irish men and women who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations Peacekeeping missions . . . For More Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway City Tribune – Lane closures from Eyre Square to Bohermore for almost the entire month of August – to facilitate the laying of a new watermain – will cause traffic chaos in the city during the peak tourism season, a local councillor warned this week.
Former Mayor, Michael Crowe, vowed this week to do everything in his power to try and get the works rescheduled away from a time when the city will be thronged with tourists and visitors.
“This does not make any sense at all. No one has any problem with this work being done but surely it doesn’t have to be done during the month of August and during the peak traffic times.
“Make no mistake about it, if this work goes ahead as scheduled, it will result in total traffic chaos in the city centre area and will hit hard at everyone including businesses, commuters and visitors to the city,” Cllr Crowe said.
This week, Galway City Council announced that roadworks from Eyre Square to Bohermore – resulting in temporary lane closures – would take place between Monday, August 5 and Friday, September 6 next (inclusive) from 9am to 6pm.
According to Ruth McNally, Director of Services in Transportation, Planning and Physical Development Directorate, Galway City Council, the work will involve the laying of a water distribution main by Irish Water. This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
Galway City Tribune – The owners of the derelict former Corrib Great Southern hotel have held discussions with officials at City Hall about plans to redevelop the site.
Billionaire Luke Comer has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that the Comer Group is planning to build apartments, student accommodation and some retail space on the site.
It comes as a city councillor highlighted how €112,500 in Dereliction Site Levies for the site on the Dublin Road – owed since March of this year – have not been paid yet.
Mr Comer confirmed a number of meetings have taken place recently with city planners about developing the site.
“The plan is for apartments, some retail and some student accommodation” on the site. “We’re waiting for it to be rezoned, with the help of [city councillors]. I think it’s going to be resolved now, we had meetings with planners in recent times,” he said.
The Council confirmed that €112,500 “remains outstanding in full”, adding that its preference is that the amount is paid in full in the 2019 calendar year.
Mr Comer said: “It was derelict when we bought it, and we boarded it up, because it was being robbed left, right and centre and we boarded it up and have kept it in good condition until we try and get the planning resolved. It was beyond saving as a hotel. It would have cost many millions to convert it back into a hotel again and that wasn’t a viable option.”
The Corrib Great Southern site is jointly owned by Trigo Property Company Ltd (part of the Comer Group) and Welcorrib Ltd (owned by Clonbur-based husband and wife Padraic and Martina McHale of the McHale Group). This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.