Boat owners whose vessels are moored in the Claddagh are urging the authorities to bring the full weight of the law against food businesses who they claim are illegally dumping grease down the drains.
The discharge of oils, fats and greases into the city’s waterways has become a particular problem in recent years in the Claddagh basin with the influx of restaurants, pub kitchens and takeaways across the west end.
Every summer, it becomes a terrible eyesore on a very busy thoroughfare for tourists who head down to feed the swans and do an extended walk along the Prom.
It also causes much damage to as many as 30 boats moored in the area. The substance is destroying the gel finish on boats and contaminating ropes. It is also creating a real hazard on the steps for people going out and in from the boats, explains local boat owner Michael Coyne.
“We’re dealing with this for years. The Council told us that once the sewage system on Lower Dominick Street was upgraded that the problem would disappear, but it didn’t,” he complained.
“It’s being dumped into the storm drains which run into the canal. This is actual grease being poured into ordinary drains when there are regulations there which say this stuff should be collected as a waste product.”
When the council installed a boom across Dominick Street Bridge near McGuire’s Daybreak Shop to collect rubbish, the true extent of the scum was clearly visible.
However, when it kept backing up the boom was removed to the Claddagh Bridge, where it can flow out to sea.
Over two years ago, the council announced it would implement a discharge licence system, whereby businesses involved with food would have to comply with regulations about how they deal with waste grease, including installing grease traps to stop them going into the sewer system.
However that plan was abandoned and instead the council handed over responsibility to Irish Water, which is now implementing what is called the Fats, Oils Greases Regulation and Trade Discharge Project.
For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune
Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run
A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.
He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.
The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.
The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.
Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda
Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.
He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.
Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.
In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.
There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.
The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.
Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.
Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.
Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.
In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.
He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.
Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway
Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.
That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.
Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.
“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.