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Connacht Tribune

Backlog of 3,800 remains in GLAS scheme

Francis Farragher

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Niall O'Donoghue from Kinvara at the Pro-Agri Grass Seed Open Day last Saturday in Ballinderreen. Photograph: Hany Marzouk.

WITH only 300 farmers being cleared for GLAS payments every week, it could take another three months to clear the backlog, a leading IFA official has warned this week.

According to IFA Rural Development Chairman, Joe Brady, by last weekend there were still 3,800 farmers across the country still awaiting their first tranche, 85% GLAS payout – several hundred of those are understood to be in Galway.

Mr. Brady added that since the start of the year, 5,000 farmers had received the 85% GLAS payment, on top of the 28,000 farmers who were paid before the end of 2016.

“This means, that on average, a little over 300 farmers have been paid per week and at this rate of payment it will be another three months before all cases are sorted out.

“This is just not acceptable and Minister Creed needs to step up to the mark to sort out this debacle and to tell farmers when they will be paid,” Joe Brady said.

In addition to the 3,800 farmers who are still due their 85% first payment, there are a further 33,000 who are still owed the final 15% of their GLAS money.

Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, said it was simply ‘intolerable’ that with Summer just around the corner, thousands of farmers from all parts of the country still hadn’t received their GLAS payments.

“We don’t know what the reason for the hold-up is . . . the Minister doesn’t seem to know either . . . but caught in the middle are nearly 4,000 farmers still waiting for their money. With the Basic Payment deadline of May 15 now just over two weeks away, the very least we are asking for, is that all the GLAS money be paid out before then. This is just unacceptable,” said Pat Murphy.

Administrative problems have been blamed for the hold-up in the GLAS payments over the past four months but despite various meetings with Minister Creed and Dept. officials, the logjam shows no sign of being cleared.

“Farmer frustration is at boiling point, and Minister Creed must show his commitment to farmers in GLAS by making all outstanding payments without any further delay,” said Joe Brady.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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