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Connacht Tribune

Campaigners take to old rail track to show support for greenway

Declan Tierney



More than 600 walkers and joggers turned out in Tuam in a virtual show of defiance to display their support for a greenway through the North Galway town.

The organisers of the recent walk said that they were overwhelmed with the huge numbers that turned out and it was an indication of the level of support that there was in Tuam for a greenway along the railway track to Athenry.

Indeed, there were many present on the walk who expressed surprise that there were so many politicians in Galway against the proposal for a greenway along the old Western Rail Corridor, which closed down forty years ago but is still in the ownership of Irish Rail.

The campaigners for the greenway in North Galway suffered a setback earlier this year when members of Galway County Council voted against the seeking of funding for a feasibility study for a walking and cycling route from Athenry to Tuam and possibly northwards towards Milltown.

Among the 600-plus walkers last Sunday were representatives from Athenry, Tuam and Milltown who are also supportive of the greenway and are hoping that another motion regarding a feasibility study on the route, which will be discussed at a Council meeting in September, will be successful.

One of the organisers of last weekend’s walk was Cllr Shaun Cunniffe said that he was overwhelmed by the response and particularly as many of those who took part were openly vocal about the need for a walking and cycling greenway.

“In all my years of organising events, this stands out as being one of the best supported. I just shows the demand there is out there for such a facility”, he said. Fellow councillors like Cllr Donagh Killilea, Cllr Karey McHugh and Cllr Pete Roche also took to the roads in support of the initiative.

But the support from the local business community was phenomenal. Local restaurants and shops provided food and refreshments for all of those who took part in the event and they too expressed a need for such a facility to boost trade for the town.

And those who are campaigning for the restoration of the Ballyglunin Railway Station, which is located on the rail track for the proposed greenway, have also came out in support of the plan as they feel that it would open up the station to a “new tourist interest”.

A recent survey on greenways revealed that those who are in favour of them want them on public owned property (thereby eliminating the need for compulsory purchase orders to become an issue), to be relatively flat so that they are conducive for families and that they go through largely populated areas like towns.

“The Tuam to Athenry greenway proposal fits all those criteria,” Cllr Cunniffe added and said that the business community in both towns along with sporting and leisure clubs are now fully behind the project. He said that the turnout last Sunday was testimony to this.

“When I turned up first at the railway station in Tuam there were around 150 people and I was delighted at that. But within the next half hour there were droves coming towards us. It was like a county final in Tuam Stadium.

“We have received knockbacks in our campaign but this gave us the inspiration to keep up the momentum. The support we received was mind blowing and those in attendance could not believe why it was not a runner.

“I had to explain to some that if Irish Rail wanted to reopen the railway track for trains in the future, then this could be done in tandem with the greenway as both could run side by side. Many people did not realise this,” Cllr Cunniffe added.

Connacht Tribune

Covid lockdown returns for Kildare, Laois and Offaly

Enda Cunningham



The Government has announced localised lockdowns for people living in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, following a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past week.

People from outside of those counties have been asked not to travel their unless for work or essential travel.

The restrictions affect travel, pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and cinemas.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the clusters of new cases were of serious concern and described the restrictions as “limited”.

“Over the past 14 days 292 cases of Covid-19 have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time.

“These measures are being put in place to protect the vulnerable in these counties as well as to stop the spread of the virus.

They are in place for two weeks from midnight tonight (Friday) until midnight on Friday, August 20. The situation will then be reviewed,” the Taoiseach said.

Travel and transport

You can only travel within your county, other than for the following reasons:

  • to travel to and from work where that work cannot be done from home
  • to attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products
  • for vital family reasons, like providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits
  • for farming purposes, food production or care of animals

You should not travel into any of these counties, other than for the reasons above, and you need to travel through these counties to get somewhere else. You should not stop in Kildare, Laois or Offaly unless for essential purposes.

Public and private transport

You should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, and where possible you should not share private vehicles with others from outside your household.

Education and childcare

The following services remain open with appropriate protective measures in place:

  • education and childcare
  • outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
  • Economic activity and work
  • Anyone in these counties who can work from home should work from home.


Cafes and restaurants

  • All cafes and restaurants, including bars operating as restaurants, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing).
  • Hotels can remain open but must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons. Existing guests can remain for the duration of their booking.

Indoor gatherings

  • All indoor gatherings should be restricted to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 3 households in total, while maintaining physical distancing.

Outdoor gatherings

  • Outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.

Cultural and religious

  • All cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios are required to close.
  • Attendance at a funeral service and burial or cremation ceremony should be limited to 25 outdoors. Indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
  • Places of worship remain open for private prayer, while services are to be held online.


No sporting events or matches should take place, with the following exemptions:

  • non-contact training outdoors in a maximum group of 15 people may continue
  • professional and elite sports and horse-racing may continue behind closed doors
  • inter-county training (max 15 people) and fixtures may continue behind closed doors

Residential and healthcare facilities

*Visiting in long-term residential care facilities, acute settings and prisons will generally be suspended in the first instance with the exception of the most critical and compassionate circumstances (for example end of life).

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Connacht Tribune

Relocation homebuyers head to the west

Dara Bradley



Clifden....popular destination.

The Coronavirus pandemic has encouraged a new exodus of homebuyers to relocate to the west, with remote working now a viable option for many employees.

Galway’s busiest auctioneer has noticed increased interest in properties in the city and county from workers relocating from Dublin, its commuter belt and the Midlands.

The availability of high-speed broadband, which can facilitate working from home, is a determining factor in many homebuyers’ decisions to move to the West.

But the high cost of renting remains the single biggest incentive for people to get on the property ladder, according to Niall Browne, senior sales negotiator at O’Donnellan and Joyce Auctioneers.

“People are paying such high rent that it’s the equivalent to a mortgage repayment and that’s when you buy. That’s the biggest incentive to buy – you’re not giving away dead money,” Mr Browne said.

The property market locally had quietened in the initial months of the Covid-19 lockdown – but it has been buoyant in the past two months in particular, he said.

Mr Browne suggested there was an element of pent-up demand for housing that was now being realised as the Covid lockdown restrictions focused people’s minds on their desire to purchase a home.

“We typically try to get eight to ten sales per month by private treaty, and we had 28 or 29 last month. The previous month was six and the previous month was eight. This month (July) we’re up to 26, and that’s outside of our auction,” he said.

Get 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

Nursing Homes shun student nurses over Covid fears

Stephen Corrigan



Student nurses in Galway are facing financial doom as part-time employers shun those currently on work placement in hospitals over fears they are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19.

First year nursing student at NUI Galway Ciarán Mac an tSaoir told the Connacht Tribune that this had become a particular issue for first and second year students who would traditionally take on healthcare assistant roles in nursing homes, where the fear of spreading the virus is at fever pitch.

“After semester one in first year, you are essentially qualified as a healthcare assistant and a lot of students would take that up as an option. Since Covid-19 came in, a lot of work places are fearful of cross-contamination and that’s not unjustified.

“It’s very understandable that a nursing home wouldn’t want a student who might be going between five or six clinical areas in an acute hospital to be then coming into work in the nursing home,” said Mr Mac an tSaoir.

Nursing students, for whom a large proportion of their university experience is spent on unpaid work placement, spend up to 35-hours a week in a clinical setting and so that could mean them travelling between a Covid-19-free setting of a nursing home to a respiratory word in a hospital such as UHG, he explained.

However, this wasn’t a HSE policy but rather the decision of individual care facilities who were doing their best to ensure coronavirus was kept out.

Get 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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