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Alcohol still tops list of Galway addictions

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Alcohol continues to top the list of abused drugs in Galway

Alcohol remains the single-biggest drug abused by Galway people availing of addiction treatment – heroin, morphine and cannabis are problematic too.

Alcohol is the number one drug misused by addicts who presented to Galway’s Local Health Office in the four years to 2012, according to figures obtained by the Galway City Tribune.

The latest drugs statistics, extracted from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System, highlight the use of hard core drugs such as heroin, prescribed pain-relieving drugs such as morphine, as well as ‘recreational’ drugs such as cannabis.

Galway West TD, Brian Walsh (FG), who obtained the figures from the Health Service Executive, said alcohol and drug addiction remains a serious problem facing society.

“Alcohol abuse has been recognised as a damaging social problem in Ireland since the 19th century. It is clear from the latest figures that it remains a significant problem,” said Deputy Walsh.

“It is arguably more difficult to address than the abuse of some other substances because, historically, it has been culturally embedded in our society. But the figures can also be interpreted as the source of some encouragement, as they reflect a high number of people taking the step of seeking help for an addiction to alcohol.

“It’s really important for people to know that there are services in place should they need to seek help. These figures show that help is available and that people are taking up the offer of that help.”

The data reveals that a total of 529 cases were treated by the addiction services of the Galway Local Health Office in 2012. For some 281 of these – or 53% – the main drug problem they had was alcohol.

The remainder was for opiates, which represented 138 cases, or 26%, followed by cannabis, which represented the main drug problem in 15% of cases.

Cocaine accounted for the main drug problem in just nine cases, while Benzodiazepines was the main drug addiction in just 13 cases.

In 2009, cocaine was twice as likely to be the main drug problem of those attending addiction services in Galway but at 23 cases – compared with nine in 2012 – it was still relatively nowhere near as big a problem as alcohol or other drugs.

Opiates, which would include heroin and morphine, is on the rise: Analysis of the figures shows that opiates was the main drug problem of 22% of users in 2011 but that jumped to 26% in 2012.

There were no cases recorded in Galway where amphetamines, ecstasy or ‘volatile inhalants’ were the main drug problem of addicts presenting locally.

In a statement the HSE said: “In 2012, 62% of cases were treated in an outpatient setting, 28% were treated in an inpatient setting and 8% were treated in a low-threshold setting.”

It stressed that the figures relate to a case, or a treatment episode, and not an individual.

Connacht Tribune

Coffins have to brought by tractor over flooded North Galway road

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Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) and Cllr Peter Keaveney (FG) at the Creggs road out of Glenamaddy where flooding occurs on an annual basis.

Annual flooding on a stretch of road in North Galway requires the necessity for a tractor and trailer to bring the remains of a deceased person from the area to the local cemetery.

This was the claim at a local area meeting when it was demanded that Galway County Council carry out flood relief works on the road near Glenamaddy which is left under several feet of water every winter.

It resulted in Cllr Peter Keaveney tabling a motion at the Ballinasloe Municipal Council meeting that essential drainage works take place along the Roscommon road out of the town now that water levels are low. He wants this carried out within the next two weeks.

During one of the worst winters in recent years, the road was closed for three months and the Fine Gael councillor and agricultural contractor said that he pulled around 20 cars out of the flooded stretch when motorists decided to take the chance of driving through it.

Even in drought conditions, the levels remain incredibly high and this is mainly down to a local turlough that retains water throughout the year.

While he said that Galway County Council officials were extremely helpful, the problem lay with the Office of Public Works who would not allow drainage works as the road is situated in a Special Area of Conservation.

Senior Executive Engineer Damien Mitchell informed the meeting that Galway County Council are in a position to carry out some works but there are certain areas that only the Office of Public Works can drain.

Mr Mitchell said that the best way forward was a co-ordinated approach involving the County Council and the OPW while accepting that there was a major problem with flooding along this road.

In response, Cllr Keaveney said that this was a very acceptable move and added that a joint approach to the flooding in Glenamaddy was required at this stage and particularly with the winter approaching.

Williamstown’s Cllr Declan Geraghty said that residents were living in hell as some of them saw their houses destroyed by rising flood waters near Glenamaddy.

“There are even deceased people being brought by tractor and trailer to be buried which is an absolute disgrace. There is an opportunity to do this now or otherwise we are looking at flooding for the next 10 years.

“People have put everything into their homes only to see them destroyed when it comes to prolonged heavy rainfall.

“There is a solution to this problem and environmental issues should not take precedence,” he added.

The Independent councillor said that raising the level of the road, which leads to Creggs and onto Roscommon, was not the answer to the problem because the levels were so high.

Galway County Council have carried out several surveys of the area around the flooded road and officials told previous meetings that, subject to approval from the OPW, there was an engineering solution possible.

(Photo Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) and Cllr Peter Keaveney (FG) at the Creggs road out of Glenamaddy where flooding occurs on an annual basis.)

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CITY TRIBUNE

New fire station for Athenry gets stamp of approval

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Councillors have given their stamp of approval to a new fire station for Athenry – voting unanimously to grant planning for the development at Ballygarraun South.

The site of just under two acres, located between the new Presentation College and the railway line, will house a station as well as a training tower and parking.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Duffy told a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week that they hoped to have a contractor appointed by the end of October, with works to get underway soon afterwards.

“We have worked very hard to get this project to a tangible position and it’s great that the ‘Part 8’ planning application [one which requires a vote by councillors] has been adopted today,” said Mr Duffy.

“This will hopefully get underway this year and we can move on to other stations [in the county], with another one planned for next year and another the year after,” he added.

The plans include the construction of a 361 square metre fire station with finishing materials common to the area which ‘will link the development on the site to the context overall’.

Permission has been granted from the IDA, which owns the site, for Galway County Council to proceed with the development on their lands.

The meeting heard that consideration had been given to the sightlines for exiting fire trucks and that amendments had been made to the original plans to ensure they were adequate.

Local area councillor Gabe Cronnelly (Ind) said the progression of a new fire station for the town was hugely welcome, adding that it had been years in the making.

“We have to give huge credit to Paul Duffy who pursued this. Athenry is one of the busiest stations in the county. We secured an extension for the existing station six years ago and when the Department was granting that, they could see that, from the amount of calls it was getting, that a new station was justified,” said Cllr Cronnelly.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she was ‘delighted’ that the area’s representatives had given the proposal their unanimous backing.

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Connacht Tribune

Teen arrested over €45,000 cocaine seizure

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Gardaí have seized €45,000 of what they believe to be cocaine in Ballinasloe.

Gardaí attached to Ballinasloe Garda Station conducted an intelligence-led operation in the Dunlo Harbour area of the town yesterday.

During the course of this operation a quantity of suspected cocaine, estimated to be worth €45,000, concealed on derelict grounds was seized.

A male in his mid-teens was arrested at the scene and detained at Ballinasloe Garda Station on Sunday.

He has since been released with a file being prepared for the Garda Youth Diversion Office.

The focus of Operation Tara is to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels.

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