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Christmas market organisers plan to avoid damage to park

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The operators of Galway’s Continental Christmas Market have a plan in place to avoid a repeat of the “significant damage” caused to Kennedy Park, Eyre Square, last year.

Milestone Inventive – the events company which runs the market on behalf of the City Council and the Galway City Business Association – has blamed the extreme weather conditions last year and an absence of drainage for the damage.

In excess of 400,000 people are expected to visit this year’s market, which will be launched on Friday, November 21, and run until December 22. There will be around 65 concession units and exhibitors, as well as amusements, bier keller, glühwein bar and Bavarian Windmill House.

The organisers say the event will be worth around €16 million to the local economy, based on revenues in recent years.

An event licence application for 32 days has been jointly lodged by the City Council and GCBA at City Hall – members of the public can make submissions on the play until October 31.

“It is acknowledged that significant damage was caused to the grass in 2013 due to the extreme weather conditions and absence of drainage.

“The continuity of bad weather and in particular rainfall, meant that works to repair the damage could not commence until mid-March. Every possible effort will be made to avoid a re-occurrence of this situation,” the application reads.

They have said they will avoid areas where water pools most frequently, while the City Council is carrying out drainage works.

Fertilisers will be applied to the grass areas prior to the construction of the market, and track mats will be put in place, while a new type of grass covering has been sourced “with better long-term protection properties”.

Under the terms of the licence – if approved – the organisers have until January 16 next to make good any damage to Eyre Square or Kennedy Park.

The market will be open Monday to Wednesday from midday to 8pm (bars open until 9pm) and from 10am to 10pm on Thursdays to Sundays.

Read more in this week’s Connacht Sentinel

Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Student leader’s stalker hell

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Róisín Nic Lochlainn

The President of NUI Galway Students’ Union has spoken out about her terrifying harassment ordeal at the hands of a 17-year-old stalker who left her fearing for her safety.

Róisín Nic Lochlainn told the Connacht Tribune that she felt ‘such relief’ when the news came out last week that the young man who spent months putting her through hell online had been brought before the courts in Dublin for a similar campaign of harassment against a BBC NI journalist.

The 17-year-old from Malahide, Co Dublin, who cannot be named because of his age, pleaded guilty to the harassment of reporter Aileen Moynagh at Dublin Children’s Court last week.

It transpired he had used up to 40 aliases to send Ms Moynagh abusive and threatening messages on various social media platforms and by email. It is understood that the teen has a compulsive disorder and Asperger’s.

Ms Nic Lochlainn said she had sleepless nights and sought the help of Gardaí and the university’s chaplaincy service amid a slew of threats directed at her over much of 2020.

“It was actually terrifying. I know it might sound stupid, but I would check the bathroom in my room every night before going to bed. It was keeping me up at night,” she said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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