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Call for audit of redundant road signage in city

Dara Bradley

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Galwegians are living in ‘pole-land’ with up to 150 surplus poles dotted across the city, it has been claimed.

A Labour Party City Councillor says it’s a ‘sign of the times’ that the City Council is stuck in a ‘time warp’ with its outdated signage.

Cllr Billy Cameron has asked that the local authority carries out an audit of all of its road signs across Galway City.

He believes that there are at least 50 sign-poles in each of the three city electoral wards that are ‘superfluous’, and that some 150 poles across the city should be removed between now and the yearend.

Cllr Cameron says the number offending signs owned by the local authority is too extensive to list.

“For example, on Dr Colohan Road, on Quincentenary Road and on Renmore Road towards the Eye Cinema, there are signs warning motorists that their cars could be clamped or towed away. It’s nearly 10 years now since we had a clamping regime in operation in the city, and we don’t tow cars away either, unless they are extremely bad.

“There are private areas where clamping is in operation but there is no need for Council signs frightening people about clampers that don’t exist,” said Cllr Cameron.

There are other poles in the city, he said, that are doing nothing.

“Have a look at the poles on Newcastle Road Lower – there is nothing on those poles. I can’t remember what signs used to be there, but they have been standing there, without any signs, for at least four years. They are not needed.

“Then you have a whole load of signs that are so old and so dirty that you cannot see what it is they are telling you to do, and so they are surplus to requirements. If you can’t see the signs because of dirt or because they’re faded, what’s the point in having them?”

Cllr Cameron has submitted a motion that calls on the Council to remove 150 poles between now and December. This would also include what he calls ‘vanity signs’.

“They’re all over the place, these ‘vanity signs’. And it’s not just the City Council that put them up, you have places like NUI Galway who have these as well. What is the point in having big signs telling you that this road was designed by such and such an engineer and that this scheme was funded by the EU.

“They were put up in the boom as vanity signs. They serve no purpose. They are a blight on the landscape – I believe that if they were removed we would do far better in Tidy Towns and IBAL because they are street litter as far as I’m concerned. There’s no need for them. There are a lot of signs put up in the Millennium, like the one at the Millennium Children’s Park, and they’ve been there for 15 years – there’s no need,” he said.

Connacht Tribune

Old mills set for new life as distillery

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the new distillery.

An old corn mill in East Galway is set to be transformed into a €6 million whiskey and gin manufacturing distillery – once planning permission has been granted for the development.

And if approved, the distillery has the potential to create more than 15 new jobs directly in the village of Ahascragh, providing a huge economic boost to the area – and rescuing the old corn mill which ceased operation in the 1950s.

A planning application for the new brewery has just been submitted by Gareth and Michelle McAllister of McAllister Distillers in North Dublin, with a decision due before the end of the year.

Gareth McAllister told The Connacht Tribune that he intended to renovate the old building while retaining some of the old features such as a mill wheel, and utilise the stream that runs through the property.

The complex, as well as producing various styles of Irish whiskey and gin, will also include a visitor centre, rooms for hospitality events, a retail shop and cafe.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

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Connacht Tribune

Aer Arann marks half a century of linking islands to the mainland

Dara Bradley

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Current Aer Arann owners Jarlath Conneely (left) and Peter McKenna, pictured in front of their aircraft. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

When Coley Hernon of Cill Rónáin on Inis Mór wrote letters to newspaper editors in 1970, questioning why the Aran Islands couldn’t have an air service like that operating from many Scottish islands, a number of Galway businessmen responded to the challenge.

Among them were visionaries Jimmy Coen and Ralph Langan, who established a local airline, Aer Arann Islands – and on August 15, 1970 the first flight took place between Inis Mór and the Galway mainland, at Oranmore.

According to the Connacht Tribune archives, the inaugural flight of the twin-engine plane, which cost £40,000, carried ten people in all, including a number of Bórd Fáilte officials and tourism representatives.

“The weather was unkind and heavy mist and squally winds made for unpleasant conditions but nevertheless the inaugural flight went off according to schedule,” the Tribune newspaper report said at the time.

When they landed, they were greeted by members of Aran Islands Tourist Development Association at a new £20,000 airstrip at Killeaney.

That first commercial flight from Galway’s mainland to the Aran Islands will be commemorated this weekend, 50 years later.

From those humble beginnings, it’s a company that has faced turbulence during its five decades, not least in recent years when there was uncertainty over State supports (PSO, Public Service Obligation) for the service . . . but at its core has always been a sense of duty to serving islanders.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway among counties least hit by Covid

Dara Bradley

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Galway has so far suppressed the spread of Coronavirus this summer – with the latest figures showing the county is one of the least affected in the Republic of Ireland in the past fortnight.

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population stands at just 3.1 in Galway in the last two weeks, compared with the national average of 18.42.

Three of the counties plunged into a partial lockdown again last Friday – Laois, Kildare and Offaly – had cases per 100,000 over the past fortnight of 86.19, 146.51 and 123.14 respectively.

The rate in Clare was 28.62, Mayo was 6.32, Roscommon was 1.55, and Tipperary was 1.25.

In the past week, Galway surpassed the 500-mark for confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic struck in March.

None of them are now in hospital, according to the data.

In the week to Sunday, there were a total of three new cases confirmed in Galway, bringing the running total to 501. The previous week, there a total of five new cases.

On Tuesday of this week, both of Galway’s two public hospitals, University Hospital Galway and Portiuncula, were Covid-free, and were not treating any patients in wards or in ICU who were confirmed as having Covid-19.

Get all the latest coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

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