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City fire service may be on move

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Any decision on a relocation of the Galway Fire Brigade base from the Claddagh to a location on the east side of the city will be dependent on the findings of a national report, the City Council has heard.

The location of the new city bypass route will also have to be factored in to any new fire brigade base on the east of the city, the Council was told on Monday night.

County Council Director of Services, Peter Gavican – who oversees the fire service for the city and county – told councillors that any decision on a move of the fire brigade base would not be taken until the completion of a national report on the service.

He said that one of the options that could be looked at was the provision of two smaller stations rather than one larger single unit.  Cllr Declan McDonnell said that councillors wanted to know whether any progress had been made in relation to the relocation of the fire service to the east of the city in the Ballybane area.

According to Cllr. Terry O’Flaherty, moves to relocate the main fire brigade base on the city seemed to have been ‘parked’ – she wanted an update on the current position.

However, any move east was opposed by Claddagh councillor, Catherine Connolly, who said that it was important to retain the fire brigade base at its current location.

“What I would like to get is confirmation that the station will remain in the Claddagh,” said Cllr. Connolly.

Mayor Frank Fahy wanted more information on the number of ‘four by four’ vehicles being used by the fire brigade and also enquired about a vehicle ‘bought at astronomical cost that had to be resprayed’.

Galway Fire Chief Michael Raftery who addressed councillors at last week’s meeting, said that no vehicle was bought at an ‘astronomical cost’ and defended the use of ‘four by four’ vehicles.

“The four by four vehicles are a very versatile vehicle for the fire service, especially in flood situations or when dealing with forest, bog or gorse fires,” said Mr. Raftery.

Cllr. Niall McNelis said that over 50% of the workload of fire brigade staff involved paperwork in the courts dealing with licences. “Do we have enough fire brigade staff available to do the work,” asked Cllr. McNelis.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys 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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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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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