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Galway City Council closes off 'Middle Arch' due to concerns over gatherings

The Council has said that the area will remain closed for several weeks.

Middle Arch, Galway
Middle Arch, Galway
Image: Google Street View

GALWAY CITY COUNCIL has closed off access to “Middle Arch” in the city centre, following requests from the Gardaí due to large crowds gathering there in recent days.

The closure comes as Portobello Plaza in Dublin will continue to be closed for at least two more weekends until 11 June.

The area of “Middle Arch” is located between Wolfe Tone Bridge and Claddagh Quay, and the area has been closed since early this morning.

According to the Council, the area will remain closed for a number of weeks with barriers in place to prevent entry.

“This measure will provide assistance in relation to social distancing,” said a spokesperson for the Council.

Green Party councillor, Martina O’Connor said that she was “completely heartbroken” over the closure of Middle Arch and that there have to be better solutions to manage the crowds rather than just closing the area.

O’Connor said that in her experience, people aren’t mingling outside their own groups and that they tend to keep to themselves when in the area.

“It’s more and more space we need,” said O’Connor, saying that many people don’t have space available to them while living in the city.

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O’Connor also raised concerns that measures like this will just move people indoors, despite messaging from the Government that people should gather outdoors in open areas.

On potential solutions rather than just shutting down the area, O’Connor said that controlling the number of people who can access an area like Middle Arch would be better than closing it off completely.

Galway has previously had issues with large gatherings and crowds in the city, after a huge gathering of students at the Spanish Arch last September.

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