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Connacht Tribune

Areas under ‘blanket’ of illegally-dumped rubbish

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Illegal dumping continues to blight back roads around Gort – with Kinincha and the Pound Road just some of the areas constantly under a blanket of discarded waste of every description.

Galway County Councillor, Gerry Finnerty, said that while efforts over a number of years have seen the town centre become virtually litter-free, areas with less footfall continue to battle with professional illegal dumpers.

“Our town has been clean and tidy now for about 20 or 30 years but there are areas that have become black spots, like the railway line and Kinincha, because they are on quiet roads.

“There is an illegal operator in the area going to certain houses and taking away rubbish – he’s taking it from rental accommodation, social houses and from some foreign nationals who may not understand that he’s dumping it illegally,” said Cllr Finnerty.

According to the Fianna Fáil councillor, the individual in question is widely known by residents in the area but, as of yet, nobody is willing to identify him to the Council or to Gardaí.

“I have spoken to a number of the residents that I would know and warned them about the dangers of paying this individual to take away their rubbish but none of them are prepared to identify him,” he added.

As a member of Galway County Council’s Strategic Policy Committee on environment, Cllr Finnerty said he has called for a tougher stance on those enabling this type of activity.

“I have put down a motion that when we are paying rent supplement or when you are a tenant in a council house, you should have to prove that you have a contract with a reputable waste collector.

“This is happening everywhere – I was in Knock, County Clare, and I spotted a mattress dumped and I was talking to one of the council workers over the border and they cover an area from the Doolin coast to Ennis – he said there is more rubbish in that area than any other part of the county.

“He said that a lot of that is coming from the Gort area,” said Cllr Finnerty.

The situation at Kinincha is particularly dire and locals are often subjected to people dumping everything from tyres to household waste – something that creates a haven for vermin.

“There are two, if not three, spots where there is regularly the illegal burning of rubbish – there could be a fire there on a weekly basis.

“When a lot of what’s dumped is household and food waste, we all know what that attracts – it is disgusting what is going on,” said Cllr Finnerty.

Part of the problem is the excess amount of waste being generated and Cllr Finnerty believed retailers had a role in tackling some of the problems – in particular with coffee cups, plastic packaging and multiples of receipts for even the smallest purchase.

“Education is one part of the solution – people are not educated in the consequences of waste; we have to start reducing the amount of waste we’re generating.

“The plastic that’s being dumped causes huge harm to the area and could be part of the problem with drainage which leads to flooding – we are producing a huge amount of waste plastic,” he said.

Connacht Tribune

Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!

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Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.

Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.

Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.

The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.

Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.

“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.

*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune 

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Connacht Tribune

Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison

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A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.

The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.

A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.

At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.

They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.

Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.

The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.

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Connacht Tribune

Dismay as marine park proposal rejected by planners

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A lifeline project, with the potential to create around 200 long-term jobs in an area of South Connemara ravaged by unemployment and emigration, has been rejected by planners – primarily environmental grounds.
The proposed marine park or Páirc na Mara, east of Cill Chiaráin village, was viewed by many as a real chance to turn the tide for this unemployment blackspot.
Locals – and the vast majority of Galway West politicians – were supportive of the project which was viewed as one that would revitalise the area.
That said, Galway County Council’s decision to refuse permission for the marine park was welcomed by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages which had expressed fears that the marine farm would extract huge amounts of fresh water to breed more than 1.5 million salmon smolts.
They said that millions of litres of fresh water would have been extracted on a regular basis by the salmon farm company operating the smolt rearing units – from the same lakes as the Carna and Cill Chiaráin water supply system.
“Local residents can now rest assured that their domestic water supply won’t be hijacked to line the pockets of people who have no regard for the local environment or residents,” said Billy Smyth, Chairman of Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.
It was proposed to provide a marine innovation park Pairc na Mara on a 60-acre brownfield site at Cill Chiarain.
The development involves the provision of a number of marine-based facilities as well as education and research facilities in the townlands of Cill Chiarain, Ardmore and Calvary.
It involves the abstraction of water from Lough Scannan, its transfer to and temporary storage in Iron Lake along with impoundment and pumping to the Marine Park site with a rising main.
According to the application, Galway County Council has previously granted planning permission for aquaculture-based activities on the site of the proposed marine park back in 2002 while the first phase of the innovation park was built in 2005.
There were a considerable number of submissions supporting the application with many saying that this part of Connemara would benefit greatly from such a development.
But there were others who expressed concern over the potential impact it would have on the environment, and it would be located in a highly sensitive area.
Cllr Gerry King said that it was a valuable opportunity lost to the area given the amount of unemployment that exists. He added that there was local outrage at the decision.
The Fianna Fail councillor met with those behind the project and residents in support of the project. He said that they all agreed that this decision should be appealed to the higher planning authority.
It was refused on the basis that it would adversely affect the integrity and conservation objectives of the European sides in the vicinity of environmental value.
Planners stated that they could not be certain that the project would not adversely affect the integrity of Cill Ciaran Bay, the islands and Connemara bog complex
They also said that the Environmental Impact Assessment Report did not present a sufficient level of information on the impact it would have on human health, biodiversity, land, soil, water along with cultural heritage and the landscape.

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