A local TD has called for radical new powers to be given to Gardaí and local authorities to stamp out illegal dumping – including the powers to seize vehicles.
Galway West deputy Noel Grealish (Ind) said these powers were necessary to stamp out “the scourge” of illegal dumping and the burning of rubbish.
“Additional powers have to be given to local authorities and An Garda Síochána, such as the power to seize vehicles, and I will be seeking emergency legislation in the Dáil to enable this. It might make these people think twice if the van or car they depend on was at risk of being taken away from them,” said Deputy Grealish.
“Hit them where it hurts,” he added.
Deputy Grealish said he had recently visited a site on the outskirts of Galway City that was overrun with rubbish that had been illegally dumped – most of which, he claimed, was being done by members of the Travelling Community.
“I visited a site recently late at night and witnessed the dumping and illegal burning, most of which was being perpetrated by members of the Traveller Community.
“Meanwhile, the perpetrators just carry on dumping and burning, knowing that there’s little chance of them being caught – and even if they were, what would they get but a rap on the knuckles and a fine,” he said.
However, the Galway Traveller Movement said it has been very proactive in tackling illegal dumping and that it was wrong to single out any one community as being the source of fly-tipping or illegal burning.
Margaret O’Riada of the Galway Traveller Movement said illegal dumping came from all sections of society.
“Illegal dumping is a big problem and we all need to work together to develop sustainable communities that meet the needs of everyone in the community while protecting and limiting the damage of the environment.
“No one community should be singled out for blame, as happens far too often for the traveller community,” said Ms O’Riada.
“We need to work towards sustainable communities that are economically, environmentally and socially healthy,” she continued.
Ms O’Riada said they were working hard to raise awareness around issues negatively impacting the environment and pointed to their ‘Bounce Back Recycling Scheme’, a social enterprise set up in 2017 that has recycled over 15,000 mattresses.
“Bounce Back, an innovative project managed by members of the Traveller Community, has taken a lead role in delivering a quality recycling service for the mattress amnesty days with the local authorities across the Connacht/Ulster waste management area,” she said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Grealish confirmed that he had been in contact with the Minister for the Environment, Richard Bruton, to arrange a meeting with him and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, with a view to getting emergency powers through as soon as possible – something he said would give teeth to Gardaí and local wardens dealing with illegal dumpers.
Most people were good, law abiding citizens who paid reputable waste collectors to take away their waste and dispose of it in a legally and environmentally friendly way, said Deputy Grealish.
“Unfortunately, there is a small group of people who just do what they want and don’t care about others and the impact of what their actions might have on the lives of people and livestock who end up ill from poisoned water,” he added.
Future of beef industry in doubt
STARK warnings have been issued this week that ongoing protests outside meat plants by one splinter farming organisation could jeopardise the whole future of the Irish cattle and beef industry.
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, in an open letter to farmer protesters, said that over recent weeks their message had been heard loud and clear, leading to the agreement that was hammered out after 36 hours of talks last weekend.
“Over the weekend, huge efforts were made to reach an agreement, to signal to you, that not only have your voices been heard – but that things are going to change. That is why the leaders of the IFA, Macra na Feirme, ICMSA, ICSA, INHFA and the Beef Plan Movement backed the agreement.
“That is why the representatives of the Independent Farmers of Ireland said that they agreed to recommend the deal to those of you at the factory gates who sent them. All of these people who represent the vast majority of farmers in Ireland believed that this was a decent start on a way forward,” said Minister Creed.
He pleaded with farmers still protesting (the Independent Farmers of Ireland) not to be responsible for the destruction of the Irish beef industry. “Those of you who are minded to continue the protest must now be fully aware of your responsibilities. The future of the Irish beef sector is in your hands . . . the futures of your fellow farmers are in your hands,” said Minister Creed.
Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the time was right to ‘give the agreement a chance’ as many beef farmers were coming under the most extreme financial pressure. “We need to get cattle moving again. The message has been delivered as regards the plight of beef farmers. An agreement has been reached – we have to give it a chance,” she said.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Portumna seeks slice of Downton Abbey action!
The release of its first silver screen drama has seen the spread of Downton Abbey fever all over again – and one local Junior Minister wants to see Galway cash in on its new connection.
Because, according to Ciaran Cannon, the appearance in the movie of Princess Mary – a visitor to the fictional Crawley family seat – creates a direct Downton link to Portumna Castle.
And the Minister for the Diaspora and International Development is urging the tourism sector in Portumna to make use of the town`s connection to boost visitor numbers.
“Fans of ‘Downton Abbey’ will be flocking to movie theatres in droves to see the hit drama revived for the big-screen and interestingly, from the point of view of East Galway`s history, the movie version features the real-life character of Princess Mary,” he said.
Because the real-life character of Princess Mary visited Portumna in 1928; her husband was the last owner of Portumna Castle prior to it being acquired by the State.
The new cinematic outing for Downton Abbey sees the servants and aristocrats of the famous house receive a visit from King George V and his wife Queen Mary, prompting much panic and excitement.
One of the most prominent royals featured in the film is that of Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood – played by Peaky Blinders actress Kate Phillips.
The real Princess Mary was the only daughter of King George V and his wife Queen Mary. She had two older brothers – the future kings Edward VIII and George VI, the latter being the father of Queen Elizabeth II.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway mum on signs of heart valve disease – and how to get back to full life
Una Fahey had spent two days in bed floored by a vicious ‘flu – or so she thought. Her youngest son Enda was to play in the Galway County Minor Hurling Quarter-Final that day in 2017 but she was unable to focus on the match, she so ill with a high temperature and sore bones.
“I wouldn’t be one to go to the doctor with the ‘flu because you could spread germs – I don’t know what made me go but I didn’t want to be in bed anymore and wanted to get better quicker,” she reflects from her home in Kilbeacanty, outside Gort.
She attended her local GP clinic which was staffed by a doctor on call that Saturday. Her condition was so serious that an ambulance was called and she was dispatched to University Hospital Galway.
Tests revealed she had bacterial endocarditis – or heart valve disease. Within 48 hours she had both her mitral and aortic valves replaced with mechanical valves.
Her illness came as a complete shock. She was 57, healthy, and looking forward to some free time as the last of her five boys was leaving home to go to college.
“I had no warning really. I’m still not 100%. I get very tired – tiredness is actually the worst thing about it,” Una reveals.
Croí, the Heart Disease and Stroke Charity, is urging people aged 65 and over not to mistake the symptoms of Heart Valve Disease for old age during European Heart Valve Disease Awareness week.
Read full interview and advice in this week’s Connacht Tribune.