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Connacht Tribune

Cinema, homes, retail and offices planned for Ballinasloe site



A masterplan is being drawn up for a multi-million euro development in Ballinasloe, which will include almost 100 homes, a cinema, nursing home, offices, retail units and a drive-thru restaurant.

It is potentially the biggest investment the town has seen in well over a decade, running into tens of millions of euro.

Already, a planning application has been lodged with Galway County Council for Phase 1 of the development at Dunlo, and involves the construction of 95 new homes and a childcare facility, at an estimated cost of around €14 million.

Provisional designs are also being considered for a cinema, nursing home “and maybe some retail units and a drive-thru restaurant” on the extensive site at Harbour Road and Dunlo – although these have not been finalised.

Jacqueline Kenny and Cian O’Connell from Claregalway, directors of Limehill Esker Ltd, have sought permission for the development on an 8.5-acre site at Dunlo, adjacent to Tesco.

According to the application, the site is part of a larger master plan scheme for the Dunlo area.

“The overall scheme consists of retail, leisure, office spaces, a creche and residential units along with carparking and open space. The subject site incorporates Phase 1 of the development. Any further developments relating to this scheme will be subsequent to separate planning applications,” the application reads.

The company owns an extensive tranche of land surrounding Tesco.

Phase 1 involves the construction of: 30 two-bed apartments; 25 two-bed terraced; 26 three-bed terraced; 14 four-bed semi-detached houses, 641 square metre creche and 154 parking spaces.

According to documentation submitted with the application, it is difficult to project selling prices for the second quarter of 2020, but it is envisaged that the asking prices would be €225,000 for two-bed units; €282,500 to €300,000 for three-bed units and €317,500 for four-bed units.

An agreement in principle has been reached to transfer 10 of the homes to the County Council to meet social housing requirements.

According to an Ecological Impact Assessment submitted with the application, the development is confined to habitats which are “considered to be of local importance (lower value)”.

“The established hedgerows along the northern boundary of the site will be retained as they are of local biodiversity value. There will be some loss of hedgerow to the west of the site.

“No significant habitat for bird species, including wintering or breeding habitat occurs within the site.

“It is considered that the proposed housing development will not result in the loss of habitats and species of high ecological significance and will not have any significant impacts on the ecology of the wider area,” the study reads.

The ‘decision due’ date on the application for Phase 1 is November 21, although Council planners are expected to request further information due to the scale of the plans.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised



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

Anger over ANC ‘snip’



Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

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



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

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