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Connacht Tribune

Coastal development ‘should be moved inland’

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Green Party councillor Alastair McKinstry has said that construction along the R336 Coast Road should start to be moved away from the old road and towards the location of a new road – in preparation for rising sea levels.

However, any decision on the future of the R336 between Barna and Ros a’ Mhíl would have to be put on hold until a decision is made over the Galway City Ring Road.

That’s what Connemara local area councillors were told at their first local area meeting of the new Council term.

Galway County Council’s Director of Services for Roads, Jim Cullen, said a freeze on planning had been lifted earlier this year which allowed landowners in the area to apply for planning permission to build.

Almost exactly five years ago, prior to the 2014 local rlections, county councillors voted in favour of the so-called “brown route” to replace the existing R336 – against the advice of Council officials, who said that it was unlikely to ever get planning permission as the route cut through areas designated as environmentally sensitive.

As a consequence of the route being approved by councillors, a 2km-wide corridor between Galway City and Ros a Mhíl had a freeze placed on any planning permission applications, causing uproar amongst local landowners.

The planning and scoping works completed in advance of this decision cost €3 million, but Mr Cullen said those studies were now out of date and said no plans would be made for the road in advance of An Bord Pleanála’s decision on the GCRR, which he said was due to go to public hearing later this year.

Cllr McKinstry said that rising sea levels would mean that any building that was constructed along the route would be in danger of destruction within the next century.

“We do need to see that any further development along the coast is moved inland so that it is not lost in the next century.

“We know that there will be a two-metre sea rise over the next century, with worsening storm surges,” he said.

Mr Cullen agreed that action needed to be taken and said this would form part of the County Council’s Climate Change Action Plans which were in preparation.

Of the R336, Mr Cullen said: “There’s hardly a road that has as many weaknesses It has a footpath that must be one of the longest footpaths in Europe.”

Any future decision on the road would also be influenced by the progress of the Moycullen Bypass and while a lot had gone into planning a new road since 2009, the Council was “effectively back to square one”.

Cllr Eileen Mannion (FG) criticised the repeated raising of the R336 at meetings of Connemara Municipal District and said both she and her fellow councillors had been informed on several occasions already that nothing could happen with the R336 until a decision on the Ring Road was forthcoming.

Connacht Tribune

Galway West TD branded ‘racist’ in the Dáil

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A Galway West TD has been branded racist in the Dail today during leaders questions, after questioning the amount of money being sent from Ireland to Nigeria.

Independent TD Noel Grealish raised the subject of the large sums of money being transferred abroad in personal remittances.

During his speech in the chamber, Deputy Grealish spoke of how €10 billion has been sent abroad in personal remittance over the past eight years.

According to figures presented by him, the countries that receive the most transfers are Poland at €1.5 billion, the UK at €2.7 billion and Nigeria at €3.54 billion.

Responding to the Galway TD, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the Irish people have a long history of sending money home.

Then, heated scenes erupted in the Chamber as Deputy Grealish called for stricter controls on personal remittance, with Deputy Ruth Coppinger accusing the Galway TD of ‘disgraceful racism’.

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Connacht Tribune

Coffey Construction gets temporary injunction against firm

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A civil engineering company has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing security operatives from blockading the entrance of the firm’s Athenry-based headquarters.

Coffey Construction Limited secured the interim order yesterday against receiver David O’Connor of the firm BDO in respect of a blockade that began earlier this week at Moanbaun, Athenry.

The High Court heard that arising from a dispute over Coffey Construction’s lease on the property, last Tuesday morning 15 security guards with two large white vans and dogs physically blocked vehicular access to Coffey Construction’s HQ.

The court heard that the company fears that the blockade, which it says is unlawful, will be damaging and will possibly drive it to insolvency if allowed continue.

Counsel said it’s Coffey’s case that it has a valid lease, for which it pays €100,000 per year, for the premises.

He said that the security guards on the blockade, who describe themselves as bailiffs did not carry any mandatory identification or licence numbers as required under the Private Security Services Act.

The matter has been reported to the Private Security Authority, counsel said.

Coffey Construction has 280 employees, 88 of whom are based in Athenry.

Counsel said the workers were eventually able to gain access to the premises.

However, they have to park over 2.5km away, which presents health and safety concerns to the employees, especially at this time of year.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor granted orders including one restraining the defendants and his agents from restricting the company’s access to the property at Moanbaun, Athenry.

Noting the evidence put before the court the judge said he was satisfied to grant the orders sought.

The case will return before the court next week.

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Connacht Tribune

Donkey foals on the double!

Francis Farragher

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Sean Martyn and his granddaughter Robbyn Kelly (3) and her friend and neighbour Oisín Diskin (3), with two week old twin baby donkeys Seachtai and Jackie. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

IT can happen . . . and it does happen . . . but it’s still a rarity in the animal world when a female donkey gives birth to twins that survive.

Monivea farmer, Seán Martyn, could hardly believe his eyes on the Thursday morning of October 24 last when his eleven-year-old jenny gave birth to two healthy ‘boys’.

“I knew that she was coming close to her time so I went in for ‘the fry’ in the morning and when I came out about three-quarters of an hour later, the three of them were there in the field hale and hearty,” Seán Martyn told the Connacht Tribune.

The twin male foals were the first offspring of Seán’s donkey – called Number Seven – and he had no idea that she was expecting twins.

“From what we can gather, only 1.5% of expectant donkeys give birth to twins and of that number only 10% of them survive as twins – one of them normally dies.

“We’re all thrilled with the arrivals and already they’re getting a lot of attention from neighbours, friends and family. They are beautiful animals,” said Seán Martyn.

Over the years, Seán has been involved in the breeding of horses and donkeys but he never dreamt of any twins arriving – they’ve now been christened Jackie and Seachtai.

It is very much an on-farm family with the daddy being a younger jackass,    conveniently known as Jack, who is also part of the Martyn family of animals.

See full story and pictures in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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