Almost half of the high quality drinking water produced to supply city homes and businesses, vanishes without trace every day.
The official rate of ‘unaccounted for water’ in the city was confirmed yesterday as 44.8%, which means that percentage of water produced is ‘lost to the system’ or goes missing, every day.
Although nobody knows exactly where this ‘missing’ water is, most of it is lost through leaks in the public mains network, and through domestic leaks. Businesses with unmetered connections, unauthorised use of water, and metering errors are also responsible for some of the ‘unaccounted for water’.
The 45% unaccounted for water rate in 2013 in the city is a slight reduction on the previous year when it was touching almost 49%. The unaccounted for water rate in County Galway is 37%, which is down from 39% in 2012.
The waste of water will anger campaigners, who have called for water charges to be scrapped. The authorities, such as Irish Water, argue that water charges are required so that investment in the pipe network can take place, the system’s leaks can be repaired, and water wastage is reduced.
More than 130 people turned out at a ‘We Won’t Pay’ campaign meeting in the Connacht Hotel on Monday, where, according to the organisers, the mood was for a ‘mass boycott’ of water charges. The meeting was addressed by local Anti-Austerity Alliance members, Conor Burke and Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, and Ruth Coppinger a Dublin TD.
There was anger at the meeting in relation to the high rates of unaccounted for water – the cost of producing water would be halved if the leaks were fixed, it was argued. It was pointed out that people already pay for water through general taxation.
Those who attended the meeting have vowed to join the Right2Water Galway rally, on November 1, which is part of a national campaign of resistance to charges and privatisation of the water network.
R2W organisers expect a “huge crowd” for the rally, which commences at 1pm at Spanish Arch that Saturday.
The Galway R2W campaign subsidised buses from Galway to attend the Dublin rally earlier this month that attracted up to 100,000 protesters. It is proposed that all groups opposing the Government’s water policy, including Right2Water Galway and Galway Lockout, will join-up at 2pm in Eyre Square to march in unison.
“This is truly a people’s movement. Just like our water – it belongs to everyone,” said Dette McLoughlin, organiser of R2W Galway.
“We hope that the people of Galway come out onto the streets on Saturday, November 1 to get our message across. We need a display of people power to encourage others in the area to join the campaign, and to show that Galway is ready to stop this Government’s unfair austerity measure and unjust neo-liberal policy.”
One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip
He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.
The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.
But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.
“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.
“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”
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
Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis
As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.
An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.
UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.
This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.
On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.
Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.
There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.
Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.
“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.
“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.
Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots
Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.
But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.
His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in TheJournal.ie – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.
He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.
Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.
The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.
“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.
Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie