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Connacht Tribune

Aran air impasse remains unresolved ahead of deadline

Declan Tierney

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The State plans to acquire Na Minna Airport in Indreabhán to ensure long-term air connectivity from the mainland to and from the Aran Islands – but there was still no breakthrough this week in the impasse between Aer Arann and Roinn na Gaeltachta over the airline’s threat to withdraw its services to the islands as of December 6.

Islanders had expected a satisfactory outcome this week but the legal teams of both sides in the negotiations remain deadlocked.

The SOS Committee for the Aran Islands Air Service met with Minister Seán Kyne and his officials in Na Forbacha on Monday, and they are due to meet again early next week.

The airline, controlled by Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, will withdraw its four-years PSO contract that it signed two years ago unless there is a breakthrough in talks. An emergency service is being put in place, at the behest of islanders, that will result in flights operating out of Shannon Airport.

Minister Kyne, in a statement to the Connacht Tribune, said: “There is ongoing engagement between the legal team of Roinn na Gaeltachta and that of Aer Arann. The Roinn has expressed a wish to purchase Na Minna Airport and are happy to draw up the heads of an agreement to that effect. I understand that this is under consideration by the owners of Na Minne.

“My main concern is that there is a service to the main land for the Island communities. As it stands there is no available airport or air strip in Galway. Therefore, my officials have engaged with Shannon Airport with a view to that airport facilitating a service on a temporary basis from December 7 onwards. Consultants have been appointed to prepare contracts for such a temporary scheme. We continue to work to find a resolution to this issue and to ensure that there is a service for the islands.”

The plans to purchase Na Minna can also have a knock-on beneficial effect on two airstrips at Cleggan and Inishbofin which have lain idle since they were developed at a cost of €10 million eight years ago.

They have been the subject of controversy from the start – and even though they have yet to host flights, it is estimated that another million has been spent on their maintenance since then.

However, Galway West TD Eamon O Cuiv is now asking the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Gaeltacht to fund an air service from Na Minna that would serve not only Inishbofin but also the Aran Islands and Cleggan airstrips. Deputy O Cuiv told The Connacht Tribune that improved transport to the islands was crucial to keep them alive.

The airstrip on ‘Bofin is used by the Sikorsky helicopter for emergencies – but not for the purpose for which they were intended.

However the airstrips cannot be brought into use until they boast terminal buildings and, while planning permission was granted for this purpose back in 2011, there has been no progress on these projects in the meantime.

It is estimated that it would take another €1 million to provide the airport terminals at the two locations which the Government is so far not willing to commit to.

A number of years ago, consultants were engaged to design the terminal buildings at both Cleggan and Inishbofin but they could not say when work would begin.

At the time, the Government said that the terminals would be ‘completed shortly’ but no work was undertaken. In fact the areas surrounding the two airstrips have become overgrown with weeds and ragwort.

It was also revealed that there were around 60 private small plane pilots across Ireland and Britain who would readily fly into Inishbofin if the airstrip was completed.

Connacht Tribune

Renters struck by rocketing increases

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Rents for private accommodation in Galway City have doubled in the past seven years and are now averaging €1,300 per month.

And it’s bad news for renters in the county too, with rents up by more than 82% since the bottom of the market in early 2012.

The latest report from property website Daft.ie shows that since the market trough, rents have increased by 97% in the city and are up 9.1% year on year.

They now stand at an average of €1,297 per month, while in the county, the average is €932, up 15.5% year on year.

Rental inflation was higher in Co Galway that anywhere else in the country over the past year; the next highest was in Waterford County at 15.4%.

That means that average monthly mortgage repayments on a three-bed house in the city would be around €360 less than rental payments, and more than €390 less for a similar property in the county.

Nationally, the average rent is €1,391, up 6.7% on last year.

A break-down of the figures shows that one-bed apartments are renting for an average of €964 per month in Galway City (up 13.6% year on year); a two-bed house for €1,086 (up 11.2%); a three-bed house for €1,258 (up 10%); a four-bed for €1,384 (up 10%) and a five-bed for €1,464 (up 6%).

To rent a single bedroom in the city centre is now averaging €440 per month (up 5.8% over the past year) and €410 in the suburbs (up 7%). A double bedroom is averaging €544 (up 9.2%) in the city centre and €484 (up 5.4%) in the suburbs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City  and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Public auction of Castlesampson farm with c.143 acres

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Connaughton Auctioneers are handling the sale of a c.143.40 acre farm located at Corraree and Ballygatta, Castlesampson, just 9km from Athlone/ M6 Motorway and 15km from Ballinasloe Town.

Located in a renowned farming district, the property has an extensive range of modern farm buildings including five-bay single slatted with lay back, three bay double bay slatted, covered yard with crush, two-bay double slatted, three-bay double flat shed and three-bay single flat shed with an overall area of c.10,274 sq. ft.

The lands are being offered for sale in four lots, Lot 1: c.77.77 acres with the farm buildings mentioned above, Lot 2: c.52.43 acres, Lot 3: c.13.20 acres and Lot 4: The entire property c.143.30 Acres with farm buildings. With a public road passing through the farm, there is extensive road frontage to an area of c.2,500 metres thereby holding huge potential for building sites in the future.

The property comes with mains connections to electricity and water and includes overall c.55.07 entitlements included in the sale.

Auctioneer for the sale, Ivan Connaughton stated: “This is a fine farm to come on the open market. The large investment in the ultra-modern farm buildings by the current owners together with an extensive holding of top-quality agricultural lands has attracted interest from both near and far.

The potential for transformation into dairy or usage as a large feed lot has attracted additional interest. Its location in a renowned farming district and conveniently situated close to the Galway/ Dublin M6 Motorway is a major advantage. The farm entitlements that total c.€21,000 per annum are included in the sale and has received a positive response from interested parties to date. I encourage any interested party to contact our office on 090-6663700 for further information and viewing”

The Public Auction is being held in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe on Friday August 30th at 4.00pm. All are welcome to attend. All legal enquiries can be made to solicitor for the carriage of sale, Hayden & Co. Solicitors, Athlone Tel: 090-6470622

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Connacht Tribune

Offering a lifeline to people affected by cancer

Denise McNamara

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Lifestyle – The Daffodil Centre at UHG which is celebrating its 10th anniversary has given practical and moral support to thousands of cancer patients and their family members since the Irish Cancer Society set it up as a pilot project. DENISE MCNAMARA hears one man’s story of its role in his recovery.

When Alan Rushe began to feel cramps in his stomach, he did not hesitate in attending his local doctor.

His GP asked if he had ever suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As he had been diagnosed with the condition when he was younger, he was prescribed tablets for that and told to see how they worked.

Six days later, Alan’s condition hadn’t improved so his GP referred him for a colonoscopy. When the invasive test revealed he had colon cancer he was operated on within ten days. Two months later he was started on six months of chemotherapy, getting treatment once every fortnight.

When he was coming to the end of the treatment, Alan found himself in a bind.

He wanted reassurance about what to expect as the chemicals left his body but the doctors and nurses in the oncology ward were far too busy to give him the time he needed to sit and chat.

“One of the things about having cancer, your whole life becomes obsessed with your problem and how you’re dealing with it,” Alan reflects.

“Suddenly you’re coming to the end of chemo and you find yourself in a very strange place; you are in a vacuum. You might be told things by different doctors and nurses but you haven’t taken it in.

“You can’t just drop back into the ward, yet you want to talk to people who know all there is to know about your type of cancer.”

He was advised to go to the Daffodil Centre in University Hospital Galway (UHG), which is run by the Irish Cancer Society to seek further information.

There he found oncology nurse Fionnuala Creighton who manages the Galway Daffodil Centre. She sat down with Alan and gave him the time to answer the myriad of questions that were swirling around his mind.

“She gave me all this information about what to expect when chemo is leaving the body, how it would affect me. She gave me information leaflets and told me about services that are available, such as exercise classes in Cancer Care West,” he explains.

The Daffodil Centre at UHG began as a pilot project for the Irish Cancer Society a decade ago this month.

Aileen McHale, who is now Cancer Information Services Manager with the Irish Cancer Society, was the first nurse to work there.

“We wanted to set up a designated cancer centre in a hospital to provide information to the patient, relatives and general public at the point of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up,” she explains. “I was involved in the setting up and running it and, from the beginning one of my roles was recruiting and training a group of volunteers who would help me in the running of the centre.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City  and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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