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Canadian company mines for valuable mineral in heart of Connemara

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The Canadians call their project in Mace Head in Carna “Irish Moly” – and this “moly” is a precious mineral deposit that may be deeply entrenched in the Connemara heartland.

MOAG of Toronto may not have hit gold but they could be on the verge of discovering this valuable mineral under the harsh Connemara ground.

“Moly” is the shorthand terminology for the mineral molybdenum in the geological and scientific community.  Molybdenum has many uses and it has been most commonly associated with hardening processes in steel, iron and other materials.

The report from an expert consultancy company on tests and investigations carried for MOAG of Toronto now points to a strong possibility that there is enough molybdenum in the Mace Head area in Carna for it to become a real commercial venture.

In its conclusions the report from the SLR Consultancy company states:  “These results suggest the Mace Prospect has the potential to host an economically viable deposit, subject to environmental, planning and regulatory approvals.  The results of the 2016 program will be used to inform future programs”.

MOAG was given a licence by the Department of the Environment two years ago for exploratory work in relation to copper and molybdenum close to Mace Head.

It had been known previously that there were significant traces of these minerals in that area; geologists estimate that molybdenum was established during granite formations in Mace about 410 million years ago.

Some drilling and investigations were carried out around Mace Head in the late 1960s but it was not nearly as extensive as the current process.  Drill holes were then some distance apart and the maximum depth tested was 50 metres.

The present phase of drilling on behalf of MOAG has seen holes being bored, in close proximity, to depths of hundreds of metres underground.

The results so far, according to the report from SLR Consultants, show a mineral field of two kilometres in length and 300 metres wide.  The minerals, including molybdenum, are extending to levels of 200 metres below sea level – and maybe deeper.

The report states that the molybdenum and copper field shows no sign of ending at the listed parameters – in depth, width or length of the deposits.

It is recommended to the company that a wider area would be studied alongside the present site; it includes a suggestion that drilling should go to a depth of 600 metres at one point in order to get a fuller picture of the site potential.

SLR Consultants with offices in Dublin, Northern Ireland and throughout Britain continue to maintain an office and workshop for the “Moly” project in Carna; this premises is rented from Údarás na Gaeltachta.

However, there is no indication so far from MOAG in Toronto about any plans for further expenditure on the “Irish Moly” project this year.

The report placed with MOAG by the SLR Consultancy group states that Ireland is a good place to engage in the mining industry; companies that have an exploration licence have first call on exploiting commercial finds inside those geographic parameters.

Indeed, the report states that Ireland was placed first out of 109 countries by economists as a desirable location for mining.  However, environmental issues would inevitably come up in Connemara.

The report states that studies have been carried out and that any threats to the environment – the Kilkieran Bay SAC is nearby – would be avoided by appropriate mitigation measures.

The SLR report advises MOAG that it should maintain contacts with the Department of the Environment and Galway County Council in relation to the regulatory and planning criteria.

MOAG was also advised to initiate “proactive community engagement” in the Carna area and to “communicate effectively and meaningfully with local stakeholders”.

Connacht Tribune

Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’

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Raw emotion, sadness and some anger filled the air at Clifden Town Hall on Sky Road last Sunday afternoon as a shaken community gave honest, personal accounts of the impact the closure by stealth of Clifden District Hospital would have on the people of North Connemara.

The public meeting was hastily organised after fears emerged on Friday that the HSE may transfer respite services from Clifden to Merlin Park Hospital, 50-plus miles away in Galway City.

Families were told their loved ones in Clifden Hospital may have to move home, or go to Merlin Park the following Monday, due to ‘issues with staffing’.

An axe has hung over Clifden Hospital for some years, but this latest move stirred the community to fight back to retain services locally.

Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG), who organised the public meeting with Senator Sean Kyne, said 625 people signed the attendance sheets and an estimated 650 people attended.

“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.

“It wasn’t just anger; it was raw emotion in the room. Sadness. Family members spoke about the calls they got on Friday. The feeling that their elderly person was being rejected; that they weren’t being respected.

“One man stood up, three years waiting for respite care for a family member, and then to be told after a few days in there that she’d have to be taken home or to Merlin Park.

“We’re 50 miles from Galway. If there’s no traffic you might get to the outskirts in an hour but with the traffic in Galway, you could be another hour to get to Merlin Park. Not everyone has transport either and they’ve to rely on buses.

“A young woman stood up at the meeting and said her dad was dying in Galway. And she had to go to Saint Vincent de Paul to get money to pay for a B&B so that the family would be close to him when the end came. People gave their personal stories, and it was just heart-breaking.”

(Photo by Carmel Lyden: Teresa Conneely from Roundstone addresses people at the public meeting in Clifden Town Hall).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the Clifden Hospital story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!

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Clifden man Breandan O Scanaill, who is on a pilgrimage from his home town of Clifden to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, received a Mayoral welcome and a memorial crest when he arrived at the Asturian town of Navia last week.

Breandan, whose walk from his home outside Clifden to the reputed burial place of St James in Santiago, began in April, was walking through Navia in Spain when a local man came over to chat to him.

“He asked me about my journey and was interested in the fact that an Irish man had turned up in the town,” says Breandan, who had been admiring the Chapel of San Roque at the time.

The local man outlined the history of the building and the town to Breandan and they began chatting more generally about history and architecture – topics dear to the pilgrim’s heart.

Breandán’s new friend introduced himself as the Mayor of Navia, lgnacio Garcia Palacios, who invited the visitor from Clifden to visit the Town Hall.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Local Property Tax rate to stay unchanged despite Council chief’s plea

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Councillors have agreed to keep the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate unchanged – despite pleas from management that Galway County Council is predicted to spend at least €22 million more than it brings in for the next two years.

County Chief Executive Jim Cullen had recommended an increase of 15% on the LPT rate for 2023 and 2024 – amounting to €2.1m extra in the coffers annually – which would bolster its case when it came to pleading for a greater share of funding from central government.

In an estimation of income and expenditure for the Council, taking into account “unavoidable” expenditure and income changes set to hit, the Council would run a deficit of €9.04m in 2023 and 13.2m in 2024 – well over €22m unless there was a change in finances.

“I am hopeful of an uplift in baseline [funding] levels . . . we cannot continue to ignore the fact that other councils have raised LPT and their citizens enjoy a better standard of services that in Galway,” he stressed.

He told a meeting this week that €9m would be needed to maintain services next year at the same level as 2022. This was due to significant cost increases given that inflation is reaching 9.6% currently. Pensions, gratuities and payroll increases from the national pay agreement, increments and additional staff were all adding to bigger outgoings.

Without that extra funding, it will be necessary to reduce spending by that amount with a negative impact on service and staffing levels, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the story, including the councillors’ discussions, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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