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Connacht Tribune

Aran Island water storage plan springs a leak

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Attempts to provide additional water storage facilities on an off-shore Galway island has been rejected on the grounds that the structure being proposed would not be “sympathetic to the landscape”.

Irish Water had been granted planning permission for the provision of two raw water storage tanks on Inis Meáin but this decision has been successfully appealed by a local resident.

It was argued that the additional water storage on the island would have an unacceptable visual impact. It was also stated that it would contravene a legal agreement dating back to 1983 which states that no structure higher than five feet would be erected on the site in question.

The planning application from Irish Water sought to construct two storage tanks measuring 5.4 metres (just under 18 feet) in height at a two acre-site on the island.

There are two separate sites on the island which accommodate existing water tanks and they are located around 250 metres apart. They are situated on relatively flat, low-lying land.

The existing water tanks reach heights of up to six metres (20 feet). They are mainly concrete tanks with no dwellings in the vicinity of one of the sites with two houses situated close to the other site.

It was proposed to provide additional raw water storage tanks on both sites which, according to Irish Water, would eliminate the necessity to import water from the mainland.

An environmental impact assessment screening report was submitted with the application and concluded that the development would have no adverse consequences.

However, the decision by Galway County Council to grant permission for the water tanks was appealed to An Bord Pleanála by resident Teresa Uí Fhatharta on the grounds of the sensitive landscape designation on the island.

The appeal relates to the development of a reservoir on what is referred to as the ‘upper site’ while concerns were expressed about the actual need for such extensive water storage facilities on the island.

It is stated in the appeal that there is an historic agreement in place with a previous co-op on the island that no further buildings of any significance would be built on this site. This, she said, is being ignored by Irish Water.

She said that the existing tanks already have a significant impact on their home, which is located close by and that the new proposal would have an adverse impact on her son’s dwelling.

Legal documentation was produced stating that the co-op on the island had given a commitment not to build any additional tanks on the upper site.

In overturning the decision of Galway County Council, An Bord Pleanála said that the design of the additional tanks is not sympathetic to the landscape and integrates poorly with the existing tanks at both the upper and lower sites.

While the inspector with An Bord Pleanála recommended a grant of planning for a single tank only, the board concluded that this might not meet the water storage needs and that Irish Water might re-examine their proposal in its totality.

Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Mayor of Galway, Cllr Michael Smyth, turning the first sod of the new £86,000 community centre at Shantalla on August 6, 1971

1921

Treatment of women

At the meeting of the Galway Board of Guardians on Wednesday, Mr. Pk. Thornton in the chair, a discussion took place regarding the admission of women with illegitimate children.

Mr. Cooke said that it was one of those questions which the Dáil Éireann was trying to solve. The assistant clerk said that Galway was only a small place in comparison to other places.

A member said that these people were coming in month after month, and it was perfectly scandalous.

Mrs. Young said that the practice should be stopped as in England. The assistant clerk said that they had laws of their own in England in regard to this matter. Mrs. Young said that it was a matter that the guardians should go into.

Clerk: So these women assist in washing and scrubbing, Mr. O’Toole?

Master: Yes, they do.

Mrs. Young: Until you tackle the thing, you can never make much headway. The nuns were terrified by some of them who absolutely refused to work.

Mr. Cooke: They should be cleared out.

Chairman: It is not fair for any able-bodied woman to be in the workhouse at the ratepayers’ expense.

The clerk said that this question was one of the most difficult which had confronted Dáil Éireann, and they were looking the matter up.

Profiteering black spot

Galway is the blackest spot in Ireland for profiteering. It is maintaining its inglorious record in extortion – a record that all but killed the race meeting some years ago and diverted the stream of visitors from the town for nearly a decade.

If this flagrant profiteering continues, it will have the result of reducing the city ultimately to poverty, whilst the few grow rich. The economic balance must be maintained. Elsewhere desperate efforts are being made to maintain it.

Prices must come back. Labour in Galway has done absolutely nothing to bring them back, because Labour in Galway appears to be less intelligently led than elsewhere. Yet unemployment is rife amongst us, poverty is already knocking consistently at the door of not a few, wages are falling and must fall.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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