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and scoping works completed in advance of this decision cost €3 million, but Mr Cullen said those studies were now out of date and said no plans would be made for the road in advance of An Bord Pleanála’s decision on the GCRR, which he said was due to go to public hearing later this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

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

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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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

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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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