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Apple asked to ‘pool’ resources

Enda Cunningham



Pool artist's impression of the proposed Apple site.

Ambitious proposals for a 50-metre Olympic-sized swimming pool for Athenry – which would be ‘driven’ by waste heat from Apple’s planned data centre – have been put to the tech giant.

The company has already committed to using renewable energy for its new facility – which is expected to begin operations in 2017 – and to any ‘green’ suggestions from the local community for its 500-acres site at Derrydonnell. Experts believe it would be possible to construct an aquatic centre – with at least a 50m swimming pool – using waste heat from a single ‘data hall’. Apple is understood to be planning at least eight halls for the Athenry site.

It’s understood that by recovering waste heat from the facility, the aquatic centre could save between €200,000 and €400,000 annually.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames described the proposal as exciting, and said she has already put queries to Apple and the IDA.

“This is an exciting proposal and a very positive idea. It would be excellent for the region,” she said.

John Stevens from Lisheenkyle East – who proposed the idea in the first instance – said: “An aquatic centre with at least a 50m swimming pool would possibly use a significant proportion of the waste heat from a single data hall, making it a viable option.

“The data centre is modular in design, with the construction of eight or more individual data halls, which are each self-contained, and to be built over a period of 10 years or so.

“Each data hall has its own electrical and ventilation system, and this would possible make the re-use of waste heat from just one hall very feasible.

“The design of the subsequent data halls need not be modified from existing plans, which are just using ambient air to cool the electronic equipment, and expel the waste heat back to the surrounding area.

“Another option, is to take heat from their second data hall, so this would not slow the construction of their first phase, which they want up and running by 2017.

“From what I understand, they are hoping to have all the planning applications completed in three to six months, and start construction very soon after that.

Energy Consultant Leo Corcoran explained that Apple’s Danish data centre is designed to provide secondary energy to the local district heating system.

“In the case of Athenry no existing infrastructure exists to utilise the available secondary energy.

“While a swimming pool is an option for absorbing secondary energy it is not an ideal application because the heat requirement for a swimming pool would be a tiny fraction of the heat available from the data centre.

“However, if there is a requirement for a 50m pool in the area, and provided the economics of the pool are proven, there is good logic for locating it close to the data centre, if Apple are willing to design their energy system to facilitate heat recovery, the swimming pool would use a small amount of available secondary energy but it would improve the environment credentials of Apple and its commitment to Corporate and Social Responsibility.”


Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
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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Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
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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National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
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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