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130km/h gusts forecast as Storm Gertrude hits Galway

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Met Éireann has upgraded a wind warning for overnight tonight to ‘Status Orange’, with gusts of up to 130km/h expected to batter Galway, as Storm Gertrude arrives.

Although tides are not as high as earlier this week, there is potential for flooding in Salthill and other coastal areas, caused by overlapping of the sea.

Galway City Council has warned motorists to move their cars from carparks in Salthill as soon as possible.

Southwesterly winds, which will later veer westerly, will increase 65 to 80km/h overnight and will gist 110 to 130km/h at times. The strongest winds will be in western and northern coastal areas.

The warning is in effect from midnight tonight (Thursday) until 9am tomorrow.

“A rapidly deepening Atlantic depression will pass to the north of Scotland during Friday. It will bring a swathe of severe winds across Ireland, Scotland and northern England through Thursday night and Friday.
“Orange-status warnings have been issued by both Met Éireann and the UK Met Office for their respective areas of responsibility. The storm has been named Gertrude,” Met Éireann said.

High tide is at 8.16am tomorrow, with a tide reaching 4.6 metres – significantly below the 5m ‘danger mark’ for Galway – and lower than the 5.1m recorded last Tuesday morning in the Salthill floods.

A City Council warning reads: “The Council advises people with vehicles parked there to remove them as soon as possible. The worst of the weather is due on Sunday afternoon through to Monday.

“Later on this evening (Thursday ) will also be windy, with a possibility of flooding in Toft Car Park and the Prom. The Prom may be closed for periods over the weekend, but Galway City Council will monitor the situation. People are also advised not to leave their cars in either of the car parks along the Prom.”

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users today to take extreme care.

The RSA also advises road users to:
• Beware of objects being blown out onto the road and to expect the unexpected. In particular watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road.
• Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.
Drivers should allow extra space around vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
Use dipped headlights at all times of poor visibility not parking/side lights and fog lights.
• Pedestrians should take extra care when crossing the road and cyclists when cycling in traffic as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
• Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
Pedestrians should walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots

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The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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