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Claregalway bypass kicked even further down the road

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It now looks like it will be at least four years before consideration is again given to a bypass for Claregalway – and even then there is no guarantee it will get the green light.

A Department of Transport source has revealed that there will be no movement on the €20 million project any time before 2020.

The source told The Connacht Tribune that nothing will be done in advance of the Gort to Tuam motorway works being completed – and that is due to open in early 2018.

The Department will then carry out an ongoing survey of the amount of traffic being diverted away from Claregalway before making any decision on the provision of a bypass for the village.

But Cllr Jim Cuddy said that – regardless of the motorway – there was still a need for a bypass of the village in view of the fact that there will be 1,000 students attending the secondary school while there are big numbers attending the primary school and the Educate Together facility.

The independent councillor warned that motorway traffic would end up in a bottleneck in Doughiska – and he did not believe that it would reduce the traffic through Claregalway to any large degree.

It is now more than ten years ago since a bypass was first mooted for Claregalway. Residents in and around the village are pestered by the volumes of traffic that use inferior roads as rat-runs in order to avoid the tailbacks.

At one stage Deputy Noel Grealish was promised a Claregalway bypass by 2012 for his support of the Fianna Fail-led Government at the time but this failed to materialise.

A route had been selected and it was ready to go to compulsory purchase order when the Department of Transport – then under Minister Leo Varadkar – pulled the plug.

The Department wanted the Gort to Tuam motorway constructed so that they could determine the volume of traffic that would be taken away from Claregalway as a result of this project.

Cllr Jim Cuddy said that irrespective of the impact of the motorway, a bypass for Claregalway was still needed. “You should see some of the roads that motorists are travelling in order to avoid traffic . . . two cars can’t pass on some stretches”, he added.

He added: “If there will be nothing for four years, then it will be at least another two or three before it is provided . . . if ever.”

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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