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Connacht Tribune

Coastal development ‘should be moved inland’

Stephen Corrigan

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and scoping works completed in advance of this decision cost €3 million, but Mr Cullen said those studies were now out of date and said no plans would be made for the road in advance of An Bord Pleanála’s decision on the GCRR, which he said was due to go to public hearing later this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

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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