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Call for CCTV to be installed in city estates



A city councillor has called on the City Council to stop ‘fiddling about with red tape’ and press ahead immediately with the installation of CCTV cameras to combat crime in a number of estates on the east side of Galway.

Independent Councillor Terry O’Flaherty said that people living in Coillte Mhuirlinne and Sruthán Mhuirlinne in Ballybane, and Walter Macken Place in Mervue, were running out of patience over the long hold-up.

“They are sick to the teeth of hearing assurances from the Council that the cameras will be installed, but nothing happening to bring them any closer.

“And they are very disappointed that a recent Council meeting was adjourned without discussion of a motion I had tabled on this issue,” she said.

Cllr O’Flaherty said that after almost two years of campaigning by her, funding was finally secured in the Council’s Budget for 2015, but halfway through 2016 there was still no sign of the cameras going up.

“There is a history of problems in the two Ballybane estates which are close to the Merlin Woods, which is one of the root causes of the increase in anti-social behaviour that is making life a misery for many residents.

“Everybody accepts that the installation of CCTV cameras could help to stamp out a great deal of this activity and to identify those responsible.

“But how long more will they have to wait before the cameras are installed and they get some peace of mind finally?

“Residents are fed up with the Council fiddling about with red tape – last September I received the unanimous support from fellow councillors when I submitted an urgent motion calling for the installation to go ahead immediately.

“It’s now the start of June, the Summer is here with its long evenings and this is a time when the anti-social activities tend to increase,” added Cllr O’Flaherty.

She said that there was still no advance in the situation from two months ago when she was told in an email from the City Council that “this request is under active consideration” and would be advanced in the current year.

“It seems to me that the concerns of the residents are falling on deaf ears and they are just being fobbed off – it’s time for that to stop and it’s time the Council lived up to its promises,” said Cllr O’Flaherty.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors



Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre



An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis



Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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