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Connacht Tribune

’60-year wait’ to resurface county’s roads

Dara Bradley

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Wood pigeons having an early morning bath in a pothole puddle on the road near Athenry. Picture: Hany Marzouk

The county’s local roads will be resurfaced once every 60 years if the current rate of repair continues.

There are 1,400 kilometres of local roads throughout the County Galway but just 30 kilometres were repaired in 2017, according to Councillor Joe Byrne (FG).

At that rate of progress, local roads will be done “every 50 or 60 years”, he said.

The potholes are so bad on the N67 through South Galway that it was like looking at craters on a Sky News report from Beirut, said Cllr Byrne. He said he is aware of one pothole on the N67 that has been filled with tar and chips four times since Christmas and it was to be filled again this week.

A meeting of Galway County Council on Monday heard how almost €24 million had been allocated from Government for roads this year.

Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (FG) said this represented an increase of around €2 million compared with 2017 but would only do an additional eight kilometres of road because it costs €250,000 per kilometre. “We need €64 million per year not 24,” he said. Cllr Maher said the roads were bad enough for motorists but absolutely treacherous for cyclists they were so potholed.

Cllr Joe Folan (Ind) said coastal roads in Connemara have been ravaged by high tides and bad weather. He pointed out that Cork’s allocation was €320 million for roads.

Cllr Tomás Ó Curraoin (RSF) said there were fears the Connemara islands of Leitir Mór, Tír an Fhia and Trá Bán will be cut-off due to damaged road and bridge connections.

Cllr Michael Fahy (Ind) urged the management at County Hall to take out a €50 million loan to carry out the road repairs necessary in the county.

Cllr Noel Thomas (FF) said the tar and chips put on the surface on the N59 main Galway to Clifden road was a waste of time because it was being washed away by the rain. Cllr Shane Donnellan asked for a breakdown of the cost to the County Council inj compensation for claims against burst tyres because of potholed roads.

Director of Services Jim Cullen said he welcomed the increase in national funding of €2 million towards the roads in Galway. He pointed out, however, that a majority of County Councillors passed a budget for 2018 that contained a €750,000 reduction in the funding allocation for local roads this year.

Connacht Tribune

Loughrea school’s new arrival is already top dog!

Francis Farragher

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St Raphael’s College, Loughrea, student Tierney Burke welcomes the school community dog “Teal”. Photo: Hany Marzouk

SHE’S only two-years-old but already Teal is both the star pupil and teacher at St. Raphael’s Secondary School in Loughrea.

School Principal, Paul Cafferky, is delighted with the role that the Labrador and Golden Retriever cross, Teal, has made right across the school – but particularly so with a special class of six pupils.

“We had heard about an initiative where Guide Dogs are provided for at schools, hospitals or hospices and we decided to check it out a bit more.

“At the time, we were told we had a chance of getting a dog but there were no promises. We were absolutely thrilled when the Guide Dogs confirmed that Teal would be coming to the school,” said Paul Cafferkey.

Sometimes Guide Dogs ‘mightn’t just make it’ in terms of meeting the needs of visually impaired people and these canines are then offered to places like schools.

Teal is a much-loved addition for all pupils and staff at the school but particularly with Rang Breandan, a special class of six students – four in senior-cycle and two in first-year – who enjoy the presence of Teal in their classroom for a few hours every day.

Principal Paul Cafferky – along with Special Needs Co-ordinator, Mairead McKenna and teacher Mairead Taylor – all went through a 20-hour training course with Teal, while all students at the school were given a Zoom presentation on their new arrival.

You can read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition on www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

TG4 journalists angry at weekend staff cuts

Dara Bradley

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TG4.

RTÉ’s Irish language news workforce fears being downgraded to a ‘translation service’ at weekends because of cutbacks at the national broadcaster.

Journalists and other workers at RTÉ’s Nuacht on TG4 are concerned about cuts to the availability of camera crew on Saturdays and Sundays, and also on Tuesdays.

They argue it will limit the editorial independence of the Irish news service because the decisions on what to film on those days will be made by RTÉ’s English language news teams.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on RTÉ to look at alternative ways of saving money.

RTÉ told the Connacht Tribune that the change was ‘modest’ and it was aimed at ‘reducing duplication across RTÉ journalism’.

The issue was highlighted by Conradh na Gaeilge, which accused RTÉ of “targeting” TG4’s news service. Galway West TD and former Gaeltacht Minister Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) said Nuacht TG4 needed an independent budget. Deputy Ó Cuív told Tuairisc.ie the cuts showed that RTÉ had a ‘lack of interest’ in developing Irish language news service.

RTÉ provide TG4 with Nuacht and 7Lá as part of its public service remit.

A number of sources working in RTÉ’s Irish language news service told the Connacht Tribune they are angry and frustrated with the proposed cuts to Nuacht’s camera crew, which are due to come into effect in mid-May.

“This will be a very serious downgrading of our service,” said one worker.

“On the face of it, it’s not a big problem – we won’t have a camera at weekends in Dublin. But it has implications on our news service at weekends and we’d more or less just become a translation service of what the English RTÉ news has.”

You can read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition on www.connachttribune.ie

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Country Living

The perils and pitfalls of asking for that first dance

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m told by those of a different generation that there are many innovative ways in today’s technological world to meet ‘the one’ whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or dating sites like Tinder, but some of the more old-fashioned contact methods are still surviving.

Here and there – and I hope it’s not out of any serious sense of voyeurism – I’m inclined to glance at the Getting in Touch page of the Irish Farmers Journal, where for the princely sum of €25, you can state your case to the world in terms of locating that perfect partner.

The fact that someone is willing to fork out €25 – the rates go up substantially if you want to be included in the response category – must mean that the contributors are essentially genuine, and it probably goes to show that there are quite a lot of lonely people out there. And this, despite all our gadgets that keep us in touch with all corners of the globe.

I just love the little abbreviations used in the ‘come and get me’ ads like N/S, S/D, GSOH and WLTM which I think that I have figured out. N/S is non-smoker, S/D is social drinker (I think), GSOH is good sense of humour and WLTM is would like to meet.

Last week, there was a lady (41) from Laois who ‘stated her case’ on the basis that she was re-evaluating her life’s priorities due to the impact of the Covid-19 situation.

She was a bit worried about her height (5 foot) but had no dependents – apart from her dog – and she wanted a man with a good work ethic who ‘is self-sufficient, good at conversations and knows his way around the house’.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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