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Call for unity as details of flood funding revealed

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Some of the State’s main agencies are to be approached over the coming weeks in a desperate effort to try and resolve the flooding disaster in South Galway.

This comes in a week that saw confirmat that Gort area has received 75% of the special allocation awarded by the Government to address the damage to roads as a result of the flooding. This month’s meeting of Loughrea area councillors was told that €1.14m has been granted for road upgrades in the Gort Engineering Area as a result of recent flooding – out of €1.5m in total across the district and €6m to the county.

But at the same time, around 200 people attended a meeting in Gort to discuss what action to take to avoid a repeat of last winter which left hundreds of acres under water and several main roads closed to traffic.

Recently it was announced that €6.5 million has been allocated for the Dunkellin drainage scheme but there are two other smaller projects that could be completed before the end of the year if funding was made available.

Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon said that it was now time that there was a unified approach to resolving the flooding problem that has bedeviled the Gort and South Galway area for decades.

Deputy Cannon explained that €400,000 was being sought for the Kiltiernan to Ballinderreen scheme with €700,000 required to provide a permanent channel from Cahermore to the sea in Kinvara.

The meeting was attended by fellow Galway East TDs Sean Canney and Anne Rabbitte as well as councillors Joe Byrne, Mogie Maher and Gerry Finnerty.

Local researcher David Murray has carried out an indepth analysis of flooding in each locality made a presentation to the meeting and Deputy Cannon then invited contributions from the floor. He stressed that local knowledge was critical to solving flooding problems across South Galway.

It was agreed that agencies like Galway County Council, the Office of Public Works, the National Parks and Wildlife and Coillte should be invited to a round table discussion to try and resolve the flooding crisis and try and secure the necessary funding.

“In two hours we learned a lot about how we are going to approach this challenge but above all, we learned that if we work together and pool all of our talents and knowledge we will be a powerful force to be reckoned with.

“In the past when the state got involved in major infrastructure projects such as flood relief, locals were never consulted or involved in identifying solutions.

“This time we want to turn that process on its head and we are adamant that local knowledge will form part of the solution. We are also committed to keeping everyone informed of every development along the way”, Deputy Cannon added.

Speaking at the Loughrea Municipal Area meeting, Councillor Joe Byrne said the large allocation for the Gort Area of €1.138m confirms the devastation caused by the flooding in the South Galway area generally.

“The works primarily comprise of making permanent the raising of roads which were temporarily provided during the flooding crisis to maintain roads open where possible,” he stated.

“It will also ensure that the necessary accommodation works are provided to adjoining lands and homes for owners adjacent to the works. Safety mitigation works will be provided by providing crash barriers and the rebuilding of walls.”

Among the projects earmarked for restoration are Ballyboy, Ardrahan €60,00; Loughanawadda, Peterswell €60,000: Caherglaussaun €76,000; Golf Road in Gort €78,000; Mannin Cross €55,000; Tierneevin Area €84,000; Cahermore/Caheravoneen €108,000.

The rest of the allocation will fix damage around Loughrea, Crinnage and Portumna.

Councillor Byrne also confirmed that a second application will be made to the department next week for additional funding.

“I believe that this should focus on roads which have deteriorated as a result of being used as detours during the recent flooding. An example of this is the Ballymaquiff/ Coolfin Road in Ardrahan which has been damaged.”

He welcomed the road restoration and resurfacing of the Ballinabucky Road near Kilcolgan in recent weeks, which cost in the region of €120,000.

Connacht Tribune

Tuam students have warm welcome for Eddie, the Labrador who is already top of the class

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Eddie the dog, Tuam's Mercy Convent newest addition.

A North Galway school has unveiled their newest member – Eddie, the three-year-old Labrador dog.

The new canine recruit works as a therapy, or education, aid for students in Mercy Secondary School, Tuam – and he has already been a huge hit with students.

Scoil Bhride Principal Gearoid Leen has described the dog as an essential part of the learning process within the school.

The pure-bred Labrador is one of just eight community dogs that have been assigned to schools across the country.

This week, the new arrival was introduced to students and parents as part of the learning process. The presence of the dog relaxes students and, apparently, helps with their concentration.

Eddie’s fourth birthday is on March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day – and, such is his instant popularity, the students have a special celebration in mind.

The newest addition to the secondary school has been trained by the Irish Guide Dogs Association and Eddie, along with his trained handlers Sarah Molloy and Catherine Murphy, now becomes part of the essential learning process within the school.

The Labrador and his handlers work alongside the teachers and educational staff in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions.

Together, Eddie and his handlers participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Parents have responded positively to the new arriva, saying that more schools should try and apply for the scheme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Claregalway traffic plan is still stuck in neutral

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Stuck...another setback for Claregalway traffic calming scheme.

The long-awaited traffic calming scheme in Claregalway has suffered yet another setback – with engineers now looking at an ‘alternative solution’ amid a dispute over land acquisition.

A meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District heard the Council was seeking to acquire privately-owned lands to progress a surface water drainage scheme at the bridge – but despite protracted negotiations, the Council had hit ‘difficulties in finding a solution’.

Until the surface water issue was sorted, the long-approved traffic calming scheme could not progress and because of the delays, the local authority was now looking at an alternative plan.

Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind) hit out at what he called ‘inordinate delays’ to progressing the scheme and said it was almost three years since Councillors approved planning permission for the traffic calming scheme.

“People can only put up with so much and this is a national primary road,” said Cllr Cuddy.

“Claregalway seems to be a forgotten area – an area totally neglected by the Council and by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).”

Regular road flooding outside Centra in the town meant a drainage scheme was required and Senior Engineer Damien Mitchell said the traffic calming scheme would not go ahead until that was completed.

“We are still having trouble acquiring the land at the bridge. It is quite sensitive at the moment and we are looking at alternatives because it is taking so long to find a solution.

“We thought we were reaching a solution recently but the situation has changed again,” said Mr Mitchell.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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Connacht Tribune

Domestic violence hits Covid heights

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Galway saw a 43 per cent hike in the number of Garda call-outs for domestic violence last year compared to before the pandemic.

But experts have warned the worst may be yet to come – with predictions that people fleeing domestic violence are more likely to present now that restrictions are lifted and services resume.

That’s the fear of Dr Carol Baumann, head of the domestic abuse service at Cope Galway which runs Galway’s refuge Modh Eile House. The service has seen a twelve per cent increase in demand in the last year compared to pre-pandemic times.

It corresponds with an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents responded to by Galway Gardaí in 2021.

Figures released by the Aontú party found there were 1,792 domestic violence incidents reported to Gardaí here, a jump of 285 compared to 2020 and a hike of 539 incidents on the figures for 2019. That’s an increase of 19 and 43 per cent respectively.

Dr Baumann believes these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the situation on the ground.

“In general women only go to the guards where physical abuse has taken place or there is a risk of it, but abuse is much more pervasive. At the moment life is feeling abnormal and when the world is not feeling stable, you’re not going to destabilise it more by seeking help,” she opined.

“I think the real increase will come after the pandemic not during it.

“When you don’t feel safe, when you feel you have no control, you don’t have autonomy over your choices, that’s domestic violence. The pandemic aggravated that, but it didn’t cause it. What the pandemic did was unmask intimate partner abuse – urging us to limit our contacts, limit our movements, that was music to the ears of somebody who wanted to abuse a partner.”

She fears that many will be coming to the end of their tether after a long two years of restrictions being imposed and lifted.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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