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Airport should retain aviation services – TD

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The retention of aviation activities at Galway Airport has been pinpointed as a priority by Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish.

In a submission to the consultants employed to draw up a feasibility study on potential uses of the Carnmore facility, he said it was imperative that the runway be retained.

Galway City and County Councils, who bought the 115-acre site last year for €1.1m, have employed Future Analytics Consulting to come up with a report on its future, and interested parties had until last Friday to make a submission on the matter.

Deputy Grealish said that there were several potential uses for the site, but these should be complementary to the continued use of the facility by Galway Flying Club, multinational company executives and the emergency services.

“The Galway Flying Club is a thriving group of people who use the current airport facility at Carnmore as the base for their activities, and they have established a reputation for providing an excellent training facility – many of those who learned to fly in Galway have gone on to follow careers as commercial pilots around the world.

“Should the airport not continue to be available for aviation purposes, this very active club – which has about 130 members, ranging in age from school students to people who are retired – will have nowhere to go,” he warned.

Deputy Grealish said that another very good reason to retain the facility was the growing number of multi-national companies who have established major bases in Galway, providing thousands of jobs.

“The senior executives of these major companies regularly fly in to inspect their Galway operations and hold important meetings and it is vital that we continue to offer them a nearby facility to cater for the private jets in which they normally travel, in order for them to be able to fly in, do their business and fly back out in the shortest possible period of time.”

The Galway West TD added that the airport also offered a vital link in the lifesaving operations of the Coastguard and Air Corps rescue helicopters, as a refuelling centre. University Hospital Galway was one of the busiest receiving hospitals in the country for these flights that saved people’s lives every year.

“I see no reason why the airport should not continue in an aviation capacity while at the same time being put to other uses.

“An obvious complementary possibility is the film industry. Galway is already strongly associated with the film and TV industry and the airport could extend the attraction of the area for film-makers. Galway Chamber is proposing the development of a creative media cluster on the site, with the retention of the runway for flights.

“Whether it is developed as a base for film-making or some other use, I feel the most important thing is that Galway Airport continues to play its part in providing an aviation service for the benefit of the people of Galway city and county and beyond,” added Deputy Grealish.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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