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Connacht Tribune

Call for new Garda powers to deal with illegal dumping

Stephen Corrigan

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Illegal dumping photographed this week by Deputy Noel Grealish

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.

Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council issues flood warning

Enda Cunningham

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Galway County Council is making sandbags available to people in various parts of the county due to the threat of flooding.

Already, rainfall has almost quadrupled on this time last year –with already saturated ground has led to an increased threat of flooding.

Met Éireann have reported a 180-300% increase in rainfall when compared with same period 2019.

A Council statement reads: “Soil moisture readings are indicating saturated ground conditions for much of the country.

“Met Éireann have advised that the current regime of periods of high intensity rainfall will possibly be a feature of our weather over the next 14 days.

“As the ground is already saturated, the cumulative rainfall forecasted will increase the threat of both fluvial and pluvial flooding events throughout the county.

“The OPW have indicated that the river network has responded to the recent rainfall since Storm Ciara, with 9% of all river gauges registering above median flood levels.  It is expected that all river catchments will see further rises due to the forecasted rainfall over the next 14 days, with both fluvial and pluvial events possible anywhere in the county.

“Spring tides are expected over the weekend, but no issues are expected.

“The Council is making sand bags available for collection by those whose properties are in vulnerable areas, please contact your local area office, during office hours (9am – 5pm).”

Athenry/Oranmore: 091 – 509088
Ballinasloe North & South: 091 – 509074
Conamara North (Clifden): 091 – 509095
Conamara South (An Cheathrú Rua): 091 – 509060
Loughrea: 091 – 509166
Gort: 091 – 509065
Portumna:  090 – 9741019
Tuam:  091 – 509011

The Council said the key message is for people to stay safe.

“Heavy rainfall currently being experienced is making driving conditions hazardous and drivers need to take extreme care and watch out cyclists and pedestrians and for the potential of flying debris, fallen trees and powerlines.

“Galway County Council Crisis Management Team are continuing to monitor these current weather conditions.”

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Connacht Tribune

Words in the one language can get lost in translation

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

You’d be fairly deluded to see the upside of stormy weather – but if any joy could be drawn from the recent Storm Ciara, it was in the efforts of our English friends to pronounce it.

Even a handful of staff at the BBC – an organisation with its own Pronunciation Unit – got it hopelessly wrong as often as it got it right. So instead of Keera, it was Key-ara, just one small step from Ki-Ora as though an orange squash had engulfed the land.

You’d wonder if that was the devilment at play when the storm was originally named, following a poll hosted by Met Éireann on Twitter – coming up with something that would at least give us a laugh in the midst of a blackout?

Adding fuel to that particular fire was that the Chair of the European Storm Naming Group is none other than Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann and a woman blessed with a wicked sense of humour.

That’s not to say that Evelyn doesn’t take her job extremely seriously, because she does – and the colour-coded weather warnings are indicative of that.

But she also has a good sense of perspective – so ensuring there’s a strong Irish dimension to this shared naming process between ourselves, the UK and the Netherlands would be right up her street.

In fairness to any devilment in Evelyn, there’s an even greater danger with these things if you leave it to the general public – as evidenced by names suggested by the public (and rejected by the UK Met Office) including Vader, Voldemort, Baldrick and Noddy.

Indeed, according to the London Times, among the other suggestions turned down was that one of the storms could be called Inateacup.

So instead, we get to name a few, the Brits get to name and good few and the Dutch throw in their tuppence worth as well.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

FF is stuck between a rock and a hard place

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Crunch time...FF leader Micheal Martin.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Anyone who has ever run a marathon knows that, somewhere around the 35km mark, you hit hell – and even when you finish it, the first reaction is ‘never again’…until a few months later they convince themselves it was not that bad, and sure, they might even go again.

And as it is with marathons in the sporting sense, so too in the political sphere – as we’re once again discovering.

Back in 2016, government formation took 70 days – and here we are with another marathon to a tortuous haul over the line.

And to be honest, we’re a long way from resolution.

Fianna Fáil says it will not go into government with Sinn Féin. Fine Gael says it will not go into government with either Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin is exploring a government with the left but the name of the game for the party is some kind of arrangement with Fianna Fáil.

That’s not what Fianna Fáil wants. It wants a grand coalition (even though the two formerly biggest parties are considerably less grand after the election) involving Fine Gael, plus the Greens or Social Democrats or both.

Fine Gael does not want any arrangement. It wants to lead the opposition. But if every other combination bites the dirt, it might be reluctantly willing to talk to Fianna Fáil in terms of some form of coalition arrangement.

Every single suggested arrangement involves a massive fundamental shock to all the parties – but particularly to Fianna Fáil.

The party was the biggest loser in the election. It was expected to make gains, but it ended up losing seven seats, plus some of its brightest TDs, including Lisa Chambers, Fiona O’Loughlin and Declan Breathnach.

Now it faces stark choices on all fronts.

It’s been nearly a decade out of power and needs to go back in – but it has been much weakened and if it goes into government it will not go in as the dominant partner.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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